Spencer Tunick's Winning Streak
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I first learned about Spencer Tunick and his photography a few years ago, when my roommate was getting up early one Saturday morning to head to one of his shoots in Montauk. Turns out this meant she’d be stepping out of her clothes with hundreds of other people and becoming part of what is almost a sculpture of bodies. An event, really. Or a performance, immortalized by the camera. I had a lot of questions, but she had only good things to say.
When Tunick launched his Kickstarter project last month, we were all very excited, and I knew this was my chance to ask him if people ever sneak underwear into a shoot. A thong maybe? He said, “sunglasses, socks, but we then ask them to remove them and throw them out of the framing of the piece.” Fine. He also sent us some amazing photos and anecdotes from his early work, which I love:
When I first started gathering people for my installations, I would print up an edition of 1000 or 1500 beautifully designed and simple black and white cards and hand them out individually on Houston & Orchard St. and other locations in NY City. I would get 10% of the people I handed these cards out to.
I had been scouting the United Nations for a few years for an individual portrait of someone nude standing in front of it, but when I had the idea to do a group this seemed like the perfect place for my first group work to happen visually. As far as actability and legality, it was a very difficult first choice. But since nude work on the streets had not been done on that scale in NY since Yayoi Kusama’s live street works in the late 60’s. The police had no protocol on what to do. So instead of arresting me they actually helped me. They helped me divert traffic and asked me for signed photographs afterwards. I later brought the sergeant works uptown for the officers.
Check out the Naked Sea project here.
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