Spencer Tunick

Spencer Tunick

Spencer Tunick (born January 1, 1967) is an American artist. He is best known for his installations that feature large numbers of nude people posed in artistic formations. His installations are often situated in urban locations throughout the world. He also has done some "Beyond The City" woodland and beach installations and still does individuals and small groups occasionally.

Life and work

Tunick was born in Middletown, New York, USA.

In 1986, he visited London, where he took photographs of a nude at a bus stop and of scores of nudes in Alleyn's School's Lower School Hall in Dulwich, Southwark. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Emerson College in 1988.

In 1992, Tunick started out documenting live nudes in public locations in New York through video and photographs. His early works from this period focus more on a single nude individual to small groups of nudes. These works are much more intimate images than the massive installations for which he's now known. By 1994 Tunick had organized and photographed over 65 temporary site related installations in the United States and abroad. Since then, he has taken his celebration of the nude form international, and has taken photos in cities that include Cork, Dublin, Bruges, Buenos Aires, Buffalo, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Melbourne, Montreal, Rome, San Sebastián, São Paulo, Caracas, Newcastle/Gateshead, Vienna, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, Santiago, Mexico City and Amsterdam. In August of 1997, Tunick photographed a large group of nudes at The Great Went, a festival hosted by Phish in Limestone, Maine.

In a late 2000 trip to Australia, he visited friend and Generation X pastellist James DeWeaver at his Byron Bay home. DeWeaver was one of a small group of models, also including the anonymous and photo shy UK street artist Banksy, who formed a smaller, more intimate sized group of nudes, than those for which he is recognized today. This Tunick photo can be seen at [http://www.jamesdeweaver.com/spencer.html DeWeaver's website] .

In June 2003, he photographed 7,000 naked people in Barcelona. On June 26, 2004, he completed his largest installation in the United States in Cleveland Ohio, with 2,754 people posing. In August 2004, a photo shoot was completed in Buffalo of about 1,800 nudes in Buffalo's old central train station. On July 17, 2005 he photographed almost 1,700 nudes on the quaysides at Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, including the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4689421.stm Hundreds of nudes cross the Tyne] : BBC] . On September 11, 2005, he shot 1,493 nudes in Lyon on the Rhône quaysides and footbridge or between containers [ [http://www.spencertunick.blogspot.com/ Spencer Tunick Experience_Lyon 2005: Spencer Tunick Blog] ] . On March 19, 2006, Tunick photographed 1,500 nudes in Caracas, having people standing up, lying down and on their knees standing right next to the main Simon Bolivar statue. [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/03/19/um/m-01161498.htm Venezuela: más de 1.500 personas posaron desnudas junto a la estatua de Bolívar] : Clarín]

On May 6, 2007, approximately 18,000 people posed for Tunick in Mexico City's principal square, the Zócalo, setting a new record [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0626494920070507 Thousands strip for photo shoot] ] , and almost tripling the previous highest number of 7,000 people who had turned out in Barcelona in 2003. Male and female volunteers of different ages stood and saluted, lay down on the ground, crouched in the fetal position and otherwise posed for Tunick's lens in the city's massive central plaza, also known as Plaza de la Constitución. As Tunick could only shoot from buildings located west of the square (the 3 other sides of the square are government buildings and the cathedral), there was a rush to take the pictures before dawn to avoid getting sunflare in the lens.

In 2007 Spencer Tunick was commissioned by Dream Amsterdam Foundation to realize art projects for the artistic event DREAM AMSTERDAM. On April 15, 2007, Tunick realized an installation in a tulip field in Schermerhorn. On June 3, 2007, he made installations with 2000 participants in Amsterdam. Tunick's first installation with 2000 people was in a car park, the following installations were with 250 men at a nearby gas station and 250 women on bicycles on the Lijnbaansgracht - Lauriergracht. Tunick's final installation was made with a small selected group of participants on a canal called Leliegracht. For this installation a special bridge construction was made to create the illusion that the people were floating over the water.

On August 18 2007, Tunick used hundreds of nude people in a "living sculpture" on the Aletsch Glacier in an art installation intended to draw attention to global warming and the shrinking of the world's glaciers. The temperature was about 10 °C at the time of the time of the installation. The 600 participants on the shrinking glacier volunteered for Tunick, in a collaboration with Greenpeace, to let the world know about the effects of global warming on the melting of Swiss glaciers. [Swissinfo: [http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/front/detail/Volunteers_strip_down_to_fight_climate_change.html?siteSect=105&sid=8116840 Volunteers strip off to fight climate change] ] The Aletsch glacier retreated by 100 m between 2005 and 2006. [Swissinfo: [http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/front/detail/Experts_size_up_glaciers_as_they_melt_away.html?siteSect=105&sid=7930981&cKey=1184586834000&ty=st Experts size up glaciers as they melt away] ] He followed this installation with one at the Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach on October 8, 2007. [citation | title= NEWSMAKER: Spencer Tunick on the Miami Strip | author=Jacquelyn Lewis | publisher=ARTINFO | year=2007 | date= October 4, 2007 | url= http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/25724/spencer-tunick-on-the-miami-strip/ | accessdate=2008-04-24 ]

Tunick announced plans to take photographs in Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna with 2,008 naked soccer fans in the run-up to the Euro 2008 tournament. [Euro 2008: 2,008 Naked Fans http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gGU59gbhumUi4VPqG7z94KkV2xkAD8VV0FRO0] Only about 1800 volunteers showed up for the photoshoot on 11 May 2008. [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSL0691637420080511 Hundreds strip naked in Vienna for artist Tunick | Entertainment | Reuters ] ] On 17 June 2008 Tunick carried out a photoshoot at Blarney Castle in County Cork, and another one, four days later (21 June) in Dublin - on the South Wall near the Poolbeg Lighthouse.

Since 1992, Tunick has been arrested five times while working outdoors in New York. In each case, the charges against him were dropped shortly thereafter.

Tunick is the subject of three HBO documentaries, "Naked States" [ [http://www.hbo.com/nakedstates/cmp/main.html Naked States] ] , "Naked World" [ [http://www.nakedworlddoc.com Naked World] ] , and "Positively Naked" [ [http://www.positivelynaked.com Positively Naked] ] .

His models are volunteers who receive a limited edition photo as a reward.


"A body is a living entity. It represents life, freedom, sensuality, and it is a mechanism to carry out our thoughts. A body is always beautiful to me. It depends on the individual work and what I do with it and what kind of idea lies behind it - if age matters or not. But in my group works, the only difference is how far people can go if it rains, snows etc.” (Spencer Tunick)

"Spencer came and said thanks to each of us, enquiring if we had seen a particular girl that was smiling at him. Then he checked out my drop dead gorgeous girlfriend. When we told him we hadn’t seen her, he asked the next group if they knew where she was. I couldn’t help but think he had gone to an enormous amount of effort simply to find a date.” (Suzanne Portnoy)
["Suzanne Portnoy's Amazon.com author's blog, 05.09.08" [http://www.amazon.com/Butcher-Baker-Candlestick-Maker-Erotic/dp/0753511010] ]


ee also

* Public nudity
* Tableau vivant

External links

* [http://www.spencertunick.com/ Spencer Tunick] - official website
* [http://www.artnet.com/awc/spencer-tunick.html Spencer Tunick catalogue in artnet's "Artist Works Catalogues"]
* [http://www.dreamamsterdam.nl/ DREAM AMSTERDAM] - official website of Dream Amsterdam Foundation, the commissioner of Spencer Tunick's installations in The Netherlands, 2007
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_6710000/newsid_6716900/6716963.stm?bw=bb&mp=rm BBC News story about Tunick's installations for DREAM AMSTERDAM]
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2006/05/16/batunick16.xml&sSheet=/arts/2006/05/16/ixartleft.html In the studio: Spencer Tunick] - London "Daily Telegraph" interview
* [http://www.wcpn.org/an/features/2004/0628naked_truth.html Around Noon: Spencer Tunick - The Naked Truth] - NPR radio diary
* [http://d-sites.net/english/tunick.htm 'Spencer Tunick: about art and transgression'] - article
* [http://thespencertunickexperience.org The Spencer Tunick Experience]
* [http://homepage.eircom.net/~Ator/Spencertunickexperience/SpencerTunickExperience.htm Ator's Spencer Tunick Experiences]

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