Nate Hill, 36, said the controversial art project, called “Trophy Scarves,” is all about race.
“It’s a satire on black men who like to see white women as status symbols,” Hill, who is of mixed race, told the Daily News.
On Instagram, lithe white women — some nude, others barely dressed in fishnet stockings or red, cheeky underwear — hang limply around Hill’s neck in dozens of photos. The artist, whose page simply says, “I wear white women for status and power,” appears only in a black suit and bow tie.
Hill, who’s originally from Florida, meets his models on social media, Craigslist or through word of mouth. Photos are taken in private, often at the woman’s home.
“Usually, I’m more nervous about how they’re feeling than they are,” he said. “Some of them are exhibitionists, some are artists, some of them just like to do new and interesting things.”
Hill, whose day job is tending fruit flies at an Upper East Side research facility, has “worn” between 15 and 20 women.
“I used to joke with my friends about using white women as scarves in the winter time,” he said. “Just to show, the idea that there’s something to this status symbol.”
On Friday, he’ll perform at the Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side, alternating between three “scarves” while standing on a rotating platform for two hours.
Hill expects controversy — it’s the heart of the project. Online, critics blast the artist for encouraging sexism, and question how the public would respond if the photos were of a white man wearing a black woman around his neck.
Hill, who has a wife but declined to comment on how she feels about his latest work, said the project will end before the new year. Until then, he’ll collect as many new scarves as possible.
Hill’s popularity has sparked copycat attempts, which the artist excitedly shares on Twitter — photos of men hoisting their nude girlfriends atop their shoulders, their very own “trophy scarf” on display for the world to see.
“I’ve been shocked by the people who say, ‘You’re my hero,’” Hill said.
In 2011, Hill launched the website WhitePowerMilk.com, selling milk that has been gargled by white women.
Is this art?
What to Know: Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand St. at Pitt St., Friday at 6-8 p.m., FREE, http://www.abronsartscenter.org/galleries/guts.html