Naked at the lowest point on Earth?

Artist wants to photograph Dead Sea with nudes.

August 16, 2010 02:24
3 minute read.
THOUSANDS OF people pose nude for photographer Spencer Tunick in 2007 in Mexico City.

naked mexico 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

People have been getting naked at the Dead Sea and taking pictures of themselves covered in sea mud for years, but never like this.

Spencer Tunick, internationally renowned documenter of the nude figure in public, has expressed interest in creating an installation at the Dead Sea to raise awareness of its declining state, according to a press release sent out Sunday.

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The world-famous US artist has photographed dozens, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of people in public places in the nude. Earlier this month, he released his photos of the Sydney Opera House surrounded by over 5,000 nude people.

Tunick is reportedly keen on coming to Israel to do an installation around the Dead Sea to raise awareness to the fact that it is sinking by a meter a year. If nothing is done, the Dead Sea will continue to drop until it becomes nothing but a heavy saline mass at the bottom, scientists predict.

The Dead Sea, which is in the running for one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, has been the target of many a public relations campaign – but none quite like this one.

Right now, a couple hundred thousand dollars need to be raised to bring Tunick to Israel and finance the shoot, Gura Berger of Leibowitz Berger Marketing, Public Relations, told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. She said there was no specific date set yet for the shoot.

Shlomit Yarkoni of Ben-Or, which is organizing the fundraising, added in a statement that “Spencer Tunick has already been involved in environmental-artistic activities with Greenpeace, and his work creates ripples and reverberations which are the equivalent of multi-million dollar promotional campaigns. The vast damage caused to the Dead Sea by human beings prompted Tunick to want to put the Dead Sea on the map.

“The connection to the naked body is natural in an area like the Dead Sea,” Yarkoni continued. “After the funds are raised, we will worry about enlisting the people – several thousand Israelis who will volunteer to have their picture taken.”

Tunick has done installations in France in conjunction with Greenpeace, and even shot an installation of 600 nude people on the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps to protest global warming in 2007.

One of his biggest installations to date involved 18,000 people in Mexico City in 2007.

There were rumors in March that Tunick would be coming in the near future to check out potential sites in Tel Aviv and around the Dead Sea. At the time, his Israeli producer Harry Fruchter told the Post there was no truth to those rumors, after a story appeared in Yediot Aharonot.

According to Tunick’s personal Web site, the artist “has been documenting the live nude figure in public, with photography and video, since 1992. Since 1994 he has organized over 75 temporary site-specific installations in the United States and abroad.

“Tunick’s installations encompass dozens, hundreds or thousands of volunteers; and his photographs are records of these events,” the Web site continues. “The individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together, metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance.

These grouped masses which do not underscore sexuality become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one’s views of nudity and privacy.

The work also refers to the complex issue of presenting art in permanent or temporary public spaces.”

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