A Very Nude Day For Public Art Both Sides Of Atlantic
This weekend was marked by big nudes both sides of the Atlantic as ordinary people bared it all and voluntarily endured loads and loads of body paint. No this wasn’t activism, it was for art, for two big public art exhibitions.
This Saturday when the American artist Spencer Tunick showcased his latest work in the UK, it included around 3,200 people bare bodies and painted in four different shades of blue, says the Hull City Council.
This public and very unusual exhibition was created to commemorate and celebrate the relationship Hull, the English city has with the sea. Spencer Tunick, the New York based artist has been in news and quite rightly associated in the past for garnering people to strip down to their skin and be the subject of his photographic work that tend to be on a grand scale.
The recent work by Tunick entails the participants to get painted in blue and then pose at some of the most famed landmarks of the city which also included the swing bridge known as the Scale Lane footbridge. The underlying hint and message of his work was the drastic change in the climate and associated dangers especially the rising of the oceans, which prompted him to opt for the shades of blue for his work.
Located in the northern part of England, Hull has a fabled maritime culture going as far back as the 12th century. It was an effort and a gesture to honor the seaside ambiance and to celebrate the city being chosen as the City of Culture for the coming year that the Ferens Art Gallery commissioned Tunick’s artwork.
Tunick has been associated with creation of similar controversial works since the 90’s and has often been the cause of myriad debates to the extent of being arrested for some of his exhibitions in his home country.
Simultaneously the other side of the Atlantic too saw some ‘naked’ expressions as another art project rejoiced in and took on the au naturel state.
As the body painting artists in New York picked up their brushes, approximately a hundred volunteers dropped their clothes. The event was held on the NYC Bodypainting Day, a day to mark the freedom of artistic expression and of body acceptance.
Bodypainting Day is an annual affair and 2016 is the third year when New York is the host city for it. Amsterdam and Brussels also celebrate this vivid and eclectic day.
The event that was held at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, outside the United Nations headquarters in the Big Apple brought in vibrant hues of blues, yellows, neons, purples and so many oranges.
Once the volunteers were morphed into walking talking pieces of art, they all boarded a double decker bus that became a mobile art show and traveled all around the city. This event however differed in its treatment from Tunick’s staged photoshoot as they were in the 90’s as the modern technology kind of took over the show.
Onlookers and passersby stopped snapped pictures and videos of people as they were being painted on. The big relief for all the participants is that, it is all legal in New York. Public nudity is permitted in the city, if it is for artistic purposes like an outdoor theatrical performance or an art show.
In 2011 volunteers were once arrested in Times Square during a bodypainting project and a model sued the police. In a US settlement the model actually won $15,000, a handsome reward indeed!