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Phil Bloom – A Woman Who Changed Dutch Society

October 13, 2011

Phil Bloom (November 27, 1945) is a Dutch artist who in the 1960s was active in a countercultural artists movement called Fluxus. Fluxus aimed to change the middle-class mentality of the Dutch people, and Phil Bloom volunteered to help these people to overcome their smugness.

In October 1967 Phil Bloom was the first woman to appear in the nude on Dutch national TV, in the VPRO-program “Hoepla”. This caused a lot of commotion, and lawmakers even asked questions in the Dutch parliament. The foreign press interviewed her and she became an international celebrity. In October 1968 Playboy magazine published an interview with Phil, “TV’s First Nude”. The Daily Mirror wrote, “Such a fuss as a blonde goes on tv in the nude”. In fact Hoepla was much more than a program that shows titties; the Jimi Hendrix Experience performed with “Foxy Lady”, and there were interviews with Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton.

Phil Bloom was offered 150 guilders for her first performance in Hoepla, and all she had to do was to walk from one side of the set to another, in the nude, with a bunch of plastic flowers. As a result 67 VPRO members cancelled their membership. In the second episode of Hoepla you could actually see Phil’s nipples, and that’s when the shit really hit the fan. “Where have all the flowers gone?” wrote the Daily Mirror.

The third episode of Hoepla was scheduled on November 10, 1967, but was rescheduled to November 23. Two controversial items, the detailed coverage of a cow being slaughtered and a report of  the Prime Minister speech, mixed with film images of a female striptease artist, needed to be cut from the episode.

On January 8, 1968 many people were sitting in front of their TV’s, waiting for the fourth episode of Hoepla, waiting for another opportunity to watch Phil Bloom in the nude. But that episode was never aired. Instead, the VPRO showed an episode of “Young People’s Concert”. Hoepla was cancelled forgood.

The official statement of the makers of Hoepla was that they didn’t mean to shock the viewers, that it was meant to be “funny”, but they were delighted when questions about the program were asked in parliament. In fact this was rejuvenating television and that’s exactly what Dutch society needed in those days. After Phil Bloom’s performance in Hoepla everything changed, and everything was possible.

In the 1970s Phil Bloom worked and lived in New York. She was fed up with people who could only associate her with the nude girl on TV, and wanted to be appreciated for her artwork. She even brought her case to court, in which she tried to prevent newspapers to publish nude pictures of her. It was in vain, because she had become a public figure, only because of her nude performances.

After she returned to Europe, she went to live in Antwerp, Belgium. “Here in Antwerp people respect me, and here I’m not stamped for that one minute nudity on TV. Actually I was never bothered because of that happening, I’m still behind it, but in Holland they often won’t give me the opportunity to be anything else than the girl of 1967. People should finally realise that reading the newspaper in the nude is not the only thing I’m good at,” she told a Dutch womens’ magazine in 2000.

Once a controversial performer, Phil Bloom is now  an artist who seeks to fathom the most unexpected aspects of the human body through painting. Click here to visit her website.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 3:52 pm

    Zis iz ze Nedderlends Jaap.


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