Friday, 5 March 2010

18,000 Mexicans strip for Tunick photo shoot in Mexico City

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.,1020,678780,00.jpg

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.
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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.
Spencer Tunick
* 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.
Spencer Tunick

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

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. 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, Sydney and Amsterdam. In August 1997, Tunick photographed a large group of nudes at The Great Went, a festival hosted by Phish in Limestone, Maine.

Major installations

In June 2003, Tunick photographed 7,000 naked people in Barcelona. On June 26, 2004 in Cleveland, Ohio, he completed his largest installation in the United States, 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.

On March 1st, 2010 Tunick carried out a series of installations titled "The Base" on the Sydney Opera House Forecourt and inside the Opera House. The installations were carried out as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and were Tunick's first large-scale installation in Sydney, with over 5,200 participants.[13][14][15]


"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