A record 18,000 people took off their clothes to pose for U.S. photographic artist Spencer Tunick on Sunday in Mexico City's Zocalo square, the heart of the ancient Aztec empire.
Tunick, who has raised eyebrows by staging mass nude photo shoots in cities from Düsseldorf, Germany, to Caracas, smashed his previous record of 7,000 volunteers set in 2003 in Barcelona, Spain.
Directing with a megaphone, Tunick shot a series of pictures with his Mexican models simultaneously raising their arms, then lying on their backs in the square as well as another scene on a side street with volunteers arranged in the shape of an arrow.
Hundreds of police kept nosy onlookers away during the nippy early-morning shoot, and a no-fly zone was declared above the plaza.
One of the world's biggest and most imposing squares, the Zocalo is framed by a cathedral, city hall and the National Palace official seat of government, which is adorned with murals by Diego Rivera.
A ruined temple next to it was once the center of the Aztec civilization and was used for worship and human sacrifice. Spanish conquistadors used bricks from the temple to help build their own capital.
Some participants said the massive turnout showed that Mexicans, at least in the capital, were becoming less prudish.
Mexicans are not used to showing skin. Most men wear shorts only while on vacation, and women tend not to put on miniskirts because of unwanted whistles and stares.
"This event proves that really we're not such a conservative society anymore. We're freeing ourselves of taboos," said Fabio Herrera, a 30-year-old university professor who volunteered to strip, along with her boyfriend.
The capital of the world's second-biggest Catholic nation, where tough-guy masculinity and family loyalty are held dear, has recently challenged some important traditions.
Last month, Mexico City legislators legalized abortion in defiance of criticism from church officials.
Also, gay couples are getting hitched in civil ceremonies thanks to recently passed laws in the capital, and lawmakers plan to debate whether to legalize euthanasia.
Not all Mexicans were impressed by the spectacle staged by Tunick, who was refused permission to hold his nude photo at the famed Teotihuacán pyramids outside the capital.
"They're losing dignity as men and women," said 63-year-old Armando Pineda, leaning against the cathedral and watching the now-dressed models leave the plaza. "It's an offense against the church."
The Mexico City metropolitan area is home to some 18 million people.
Thousands of naked volunteers pose for U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick at Mexico City's Zocalo square May 6, 2007. A record 18,000 people took off their clothes to pose for Tunick on Sunday in Mexico City's Zocalo square, the heart of the ancient Aztec empire.
Naked photo shoot planned for Mexico City
MEXICO CITY, May 5 (UPI) -- A plan to photograph thousands of people nude in downtown Mexico City has sparked debate in the usually modest Mexican capital.
Artist Spencer Tunick, known for photographing crowds of naked people worldwide, said he is hoping to best his record of the 7,000 nude volunteers he photographed in Barcelona, Spain, in 2003.
Tunick picked Mexico's historic Zocalo Plaza as the site of Sunday's shoot because it was the only place that could handle all the volunteers who were signing up for the shoot, the Arizona Republic reported Saturday.
The shoot has unnerved many in the capital of 20 million, where shorts are frowned upon and a sculptor once was forced to weld bronze underwear onto a landmark statue of Diana the Huntress, the newspaper said.
Tunick, who has been shooting crowds of nudes since the early 1990s, said his art forces people to think about their bodies in new ways.
Mexicans shed clothes for photographer
Photographer, Spencer Tunick is at it again. This time in Mexico City where he gathered as many as 20,000 residents together in the country’s capital for a nude photo shoot. Tunick, who has made his name by rounding up citizens of cities around the world for pictorial peeks beneath their clothes, arrived in the city looking to convince 7,000 men and women to disrobe, but city officials estimate that as many as 20,000 showed up to shed their clothes for the photographer, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
The subjects gathered in the main plaza of the city, near the Metropolitan Cathedral in the heavily Roman Catholic area. Permission to use the area was granted by the city on the condition the cathedral not be used for any of the photographs.
“What a great moment for the Mexican art scene,” Tunick said after the shoot. “The heart of Latin America is now in Mexico.”
Spencer Tunick, internationally renowned for featuring nude subjects in his urban landscape photography, hopes to draw his largest crowd ever for an upcoming session in Mexico City, he said on Sunday.
Tunick announced that his next photo shoot would take place May 6 at the city's central Zocalo Square, also known as Plaza de la Constitution. One of the largest public squares in the world, the site sits on the ruins of a former Aztec temple.
Photographer Spencer Tunick has photographed large crowds of nude people in locations around the world. Photographer Spencer Tunick has photographed large crowds of nude people in locations around the world.
"This could be my largest work ever," the U.S. photographer said at a news conference in Mexico City.
"We're really hoping that all eyes will be on Mexico City on May 6 because this could be … bigger than Barcelona."
Tunick, who has staged mass nude photo shoots in cities around the world, set a record at his 2003 Barcelona session, at which approximately 7,000 volunteers shed their clothes to pose for him.
Zocalo Square can hold upwards of 60,000 people.
Tunick had initially applied to stage his Mexico City shoot at the Teotihuacán pyramids outside the capital, but was denied permission for that site.
Tunick began photographing nude figures in public in the early 1990s. Over the years, he has raised eyebrows, gained fame and even been arrested for his photo shoots, at which he directs thousands of volunteers of all shapes and sizes into sculptural forms for his images.
In exchange for posing, the volunteers typically receive a print of the photo.
In 2001, he shot part of his internationally renowned Naked Pavement series in front of Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art.
May 7, 2007
An estimated 18,000 to 20,000 volunteers shed their inhibit... Photographer Spencer Tunick (waving) directs the nude for... Thousands of naked volunteers pose for photographer Spenc... Thousands of naked people crouch in Mexico City's Zocalo ...
(05-07) 04:00 PDT Mexico City -- Carmen Gonzalez stood prim and proper Sunday in the predawn darkness of this city's grand central square.
Her dark brown dress was neatly pressed, and she held her daughter's hand tightly as the crowd pressed against them. This isn't Gonzalez's thing, hanging around at a crazy hour, preparing to get a little wild. But at the age of 50, she figured, "Why not?"
Why not get naked?
"I'm nervous," Gonzalez told her 20-year-old daughter, Maria Olive Gonzalez, as a voice crackled over the loudspeaker.
But when Spencer Tunick, provocative photographer of the bare-bunned masses, gave the word, Carmen Gonzalez did not hesitate. She shimmied out of that brown dress while her daughter was still fiddling with buttons.
And there it was. After a lifetime of acting demure, Carmen Gonzalez was naked for all to see. And she was smiling.
Everyone else, it seemed, was smiling, too -- an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 volunteer nude models hopping about in the morning chill, blowing away Tunick's previous record of 7,000, set in 2003 in Barcelona. As the sun began to rise above Mexico's National Palace, they wriggled out of blue jeans, slipped off tank tops, kicked away shoes. A trio of college buddies sloughed off bathrobes and flip-flops. The crowd was mostly silent, except for the giggles.
Tunick, a New Yorker who was arrested multiple times when he began staging large-scale nude photo shoots in the early 1990s, has since become one of the world's best-known photographers. He has posed nudes in front of a statue of Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, filled the streets of Montreal and Sao Paulo, Brazil, with them and marched them through a London department store.
His Mexico City shoot was anticipated with all the hand-wringing that might be expected in this socially conservative country. Pundits and radio-show callers fretted about teenagers and 20-somethings frolicking in a public raunchy fest. Tunick's Mexico City debut wasn't without bumps. His arrival was preceded by weighty philosophical battles about public nudity. The prominent Mexican art critic Raquel Tibol declared that Tunick's photos would be "an antidote to Mexican prudishness," while the Spanish critic Roman Gubern sniffed that the photographer's work is redundant and doesn't appear artistic.
Tunick had hoped to stage his photos at Teotihuacán, the ancient ruins outside Mexico City where tourists flock to climb the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. But the Mexican government turned him down. His fallback was the city's central square, known as the zocalo.
In the crowd around Carmen Gonzalez, many of the nude models chuckled about being so close to the National Cathedral. The building, with its sinking floors, represents a Catholic hierarchy in Mexico that has frowned on the activities of social progressives and recently attempted to stop city laws permitting gay civil unions and expanding access to abortion.
"I bet Norberto's up there with his telescope looking down on us," said Carmen Rodriguez, 50, referring to Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the leader of Mexico's Catholics.
The semicircle of friends around Rodriguez broke out in laughter. But they didn't have much time to joke, for Tunick was back at the microphone hustling the crowd to the center of the square.
The crowd lined up in dozens of rows and stood at attention for the first shot. Minutes later, the amateur models were holding their right hands, palms down, against their chests -- the salute Mexicans use when they sing their national anthem.
Next, Tunick had his subjects lying on their backs on the stone floor of the Zocalo. From there, they took to their knees, facing the cathedral with their foreheads touching the ground in a pose reminiscent of Muslims at prayer facing Mecca.
In less than an hour, it was over, and thousands of shivering, naked bodies came bouncing back to the bags of clothes they'd left at the edge of the square.
May 12, 2007 · As many as 20,000 people shed their clothes in the early morning hours in the center of Mexico City this week to pose for a giant naked photograph — all in the name of art.
Sun rises on thousands in the buff / Naked crowd in Mexico City eclipses photographer's record
An estimated 18,000 to 20,000 volunteers shed their inhibitions and clothing at Mexico City's central square, known as the zocalo. Associated Press photo by Claudio Cruz
Photographer Spencer Tunick (waving) directs the nude forms from atop a crane in the plaza. Associated Press photo by Dario Lopez-Mills
Thousands of naked people crouch in Mexico City's Zocalo during the photo session. Associated Press photo by Dario Lopez-Mills
The New York photographer Spencer Tunick recently broke his own record when he encouraged 17,000 Mexicans to take their clothes off and pose for him.
That's a lot of flesh in one place!
The volunteers posed for Tunick at the Zocalo square in Mexico City on Sunday. His previous record of 7000 nudes in Spain was broken by more than double.
Thousands of Mexicans strip for photo shoot
Not all Mexicans were impressed by the spectacle staged by Tunick, who was refused permission to hold his nude photo at the famed Teotihuacán pyramids outside the capital. "They're losing dignity as men and women," said 63-year-old Armando Pineda, leaning against the cathedral and watching the now-dressed models leave the plaza. "It's an offence against the church." MHZ
105 Freda Carlos!
On Monday, Spencer Tunick arranged a more intimate photo shoot in Mexico with a less impressive number of 105 naked people. But the unusual thing about these naked Mexicans was that they all looked like Freda Carlo!
Here's some quotes by Spencer Tunick from a news conference that the artist gave..
* What a moment for the Mexican art scene. I think all eyes are looking south from the United Sates to Mexico City to see how a country can be free and treat the naked body as art. Not as pornography or as a crime, but with happiness and caring.
* I just create shapes and forms with human bodies. It's an abstraction, it's a performance, it's an installation. So I don't care how many people showed up. All I know is that I filled up my space.
Jonathan Jones of the Guardian newspaper in the UK has wrote a piece on the work of Spencer Tunick, called "The naked truth about Tunick"..
"But so what? Tunick's work isn't art, and no one who actually considered it for a moment would say it was. There's no interesting "thought" underlying his work nor is it a provocative challenge to what art is. His photograph-stunts are on the same level as a wacky advertising campaign. I find it contemptible the way Tunick is applauded for something so blatantly cynical." JUJUS
Spencer Tunick Mexico City
Spencer Tunick Mexico City
Spencer Tunick Mexico City