The American performance artist/impresario Spencer Tunick, known for his nude human installations in public spaces has gathered two hundred twenty members of the public for a socially distanced naked art piece at London’s Alexandra Palace, this week in the UK’s, first major participatory work of art since lockdown.
The beautifully choreographed installation by Tunick, titled Everyone Together, was staged without a hitch or complaints to the police concerning public order offences.
The participants, real people from all backgrounds – from doctors and care home workers, teachers and government workers – of all ages and genders, came together to pose for the socially-distanced piece.
A doctor from London, 30, who posed for the artwork and worked in an intensive care unit in London during the height of the pandemic said,
“I think it’s incredibly important to reach people in different ways about mask-wearing and other precautions than the didactic way that can sometimes happen, so I think this is a great project. The numbers were a lot smaller than [in past installations], so you did get to see who was around, and generally, people got to know each other, reflecting how neighbourhoods and communities got together.”
The installation was organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidelines. As well as wearing face masks and observing social distancing throughout the day, the participants were subject to strict safety controls including a pre-screening questionnaire, temperature checks on arrival and being arranged into position in a one-way queue via megaphone. All participants were at least 1m apart throughout. Please note that in some images, the perspective of the imagery, and the topography of the landscape can make it appear that participants are closer than they were.
Spencer Tunick is a renowned artist and photographer who has created more than 100 installations around the world. Spencer has been documenting the live nude figure in public, with photography and video, since 1992. Since 1994, he has organised installations that encompass dozens, hundreds or thousands of volunteers, and his photographs are records of these events.
His temporary site-specific installations have been commissioned by the Institut Cultura, Barcelona, The Saatchi Gallery, MOCA Cleveland, Vienna Kunsthalle and MAMBO Museum of Modern Art, Bogota, among others.
Last year Tunick staged 100 people who stripped naked in front of Facebook’s New York offices as part of a censorship protest against Facebook and Instagram’s policies surrounding artistic nudity. The artist led the protest via his extensive social media network. He also recently used Hull as a backdrop during its stint as UK City of Culture by presenting nude works. The exhibition explored the nude and in particular how the depiction of skin continues to fascinate today.
Spencer Tunick’s career has been perhaps the most nakedly participatory of any modern artist. Since first photographing nudes in his native New York during the early 1990s, the hugely popular figure has devoted himself to “performance photography”, directing flesh-barers to embed themselves within well-known landscapes and locations.