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An installation of 700 nude people arranged in a theatre in Bruges (2005).

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. These installations are often situated in urban locations throughout the world, although he has also has done some "Beyond The City" woodland and beach installations and still does individuals and small groups occasionally. Tunick is the subject of three HBO documentaries, Naked States[1], Naked World[2], and Positively Naked[3]. His models are volunteers who receive a limited edition photo as a reward.


Early work

Tunick was born in the United States in Middletown, Orange County, New York.

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 began 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 or on small groups of nudes. These works are much more intimate images than the massive installations for which he is 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 internationally, 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 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 his friend and Generation X pastellist James DeWeaver in Byron Bay. 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 Tunick is recognized today. The Tunick photo that came into being thus can be seen at DeWeaver's website.

Major installations

In June 2003, Tunick 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.[4] On September 11, 2005, he shot 1,493 nudes in Lyon on the Rhône quaysides and footbridge resp. between containers.[5] On March 19, 2006, Tunick photographed 1,500 nudes in Caracas, having people standing up, lying down, and on their knees beside the main Simon Bolivar statue.[6]

On May 6, 2007, approximately 18,000 people posed for Tunick in Mexico City's principal square, the Zócalo, setting a new record,[7] and more than doubling 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, the Plaza de la Constitución. Here, the specific problems of photographing great numbers of people outside became clear: as Tunick could only shoot from buildings located west of the square (the three 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 the 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.

Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland 2007.08.18 Four installations by Spencer Tunick with Greenpeace.

On August 18, 2007, Tunick used 600 nude people in a "living sculpture" on the Aletsch Glacier in an installation intended to draw attention to global warming and the shrinking of the world's glaciers in a collaboration with Greenpeace. The temperature was about 10°C.[8] The Aletsch glacier retreated by 100 m between 2005 and 2006.[9] He followed this installation with one at the Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach on October 8, 2007.[10]

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.[11] Only about 1860 volunteers showed up for the photoshoot on May 11, 2008.[12]

On June 17, 2008 Tunick carried out an installation in the grounds of Blarney Castle in County Cork with about 1200 people. Another photoshoot was organised for four days later (Saturday June 21) in Dublin, on the South Wall near the Poolbeg Lighthouse, with over 2500 nude people taking part. The South Wall event was somewhat washed out, with one of the proposed set-ups having to be cancelled. However, people praised the organisers for an event well run.

On October 3, 2009 Tunick performed another installation in collaboration with Greenpeace, this time to draw attention to the effect climate change is having on French wine production. Over 700 volunteers turned up at a vineyard near Macon, France for a number of poses among the vines.


"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

See also


External links


Simple English

File:Spencer Tunick at Aletsch Glacier 2007.08.
An installation was done on the Aletsch glacier, in Switzerland, in 2007. This was done together with Greenpeace. This photo shows tunick directing the people.

Spencer Tunick (born January 1, 1967) is an American artist. Tunick is mostly known because he does temporary site-specific installations. In these installation, many people pose nude. Most of the installations are done in a urban setting. The people posing for Tunick, the models are volunteers. Usually they receive a signed copy of the image as a reward for posing.

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