Jewish American artist Spencer Tunick announced Wednesday that he plans to
produce an installation of nude figures at the Dead Sea this year, after being
inspired by the region’s beauty and its everincreasing environmental
deterioration due to evaporation.
The concept, called “Naked Sea,”
launched a campaign on the fundraising website Kickstarter that will run through
June 6 and aims to raise $60,000 to finance the installation, an amount which,
according to the rules of the fundraising website, must be fully raised by the
end date in order to receive any money, a statement from the artist
The Kickstarter campaign, launched Wednesday, had raised $1,435 by
early Thursday evening.
First envisioned jointly by Tunick and his
friend, Tel Aviv resident Ari Fruchter, the project has faced many challenges
getting up and running, particularly due to the hypersensitivity toward displays
of nude art in this country, Tunick’s statement said.
Tunick has been
documenting the nude in public through his photography and video work since
1992, and since 1994 has installed 75 temporary site-specific installations all
over the United States and the world, according to his website.
past few years I have been gearing up for this and working with Tunick. My first
challenge was to see if the people of Israel were ready to get naked for art.
Much to my surprise, the overwhelming answer was yes,” Fruchter said in the
statement, noting that a group of five university students started a grassroots
campaign to enlist public support, which has attracted thousands
“My second challenge was to get financial support from local
government, institutions and sponsors,” continued Fruchter, who is himself a
patron of the arts as well as a hi-tech executive.
“Due to the nature of
this art in this region of the world – this has proven to be most challenging.
After years of great effort and consulting with Spencer, I have decided to
launch a Kickstarter campaign, to finally bring this project to life in
Raising money for art projects in Israel is already difficult, not
to mention when there is the added element of the “sensitivities here toward
displaying the body in art,” Fruchter told The Jerusalem Post. But he also said
that Tunick will be doing his best to keep the creation of the installation as
private as possible, “to do it in a way that doesn’t offend people.”
these installations around the world there are always people for and against
it,” Fruchter said. “He tries to do it in places that are private.
not going to go to the Kotel and do it there.
“We’re not going to do it
to disturb people, and we’re not going to do it in a religious neighborhood,” he
added, noting that similar installations in very religiously Catholic Mexico
City and Venezuela were not a problem at all.
Fruchter emphasized that
part of the importance of this project, in addition to creating beautiful
artwork, is bringing attention to the need to protect a body of water that is
common to three different people – Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians – and
that is in serious danger of disappearing in the not-so-distant
“[Tunick] told me he loves the Dead Sea form an aesthetic
perspective for the reasons we know – it’s the lowest place on the earth, it’s
gorgeous, you can float,” Fruchter said, noting that Tunick came to scout out
locations for the project a year ago.
“It struck a cord with him and I
made him aware of the situation – he didn’t realize how grave it
While Tunick does not intend to make this venture political, “he
realizes the value of doing it here because it will bring widespread media
attention to the Dead Sea,” Fruchter added.
The Dead Sea is currently one
of 28 finalists for the New 7 Wonders of Nature global competition, which is
soliciting votes from the global public at www.n7w.com and will announce the
winners on November 11.
Tunick aims to complete his project in Israel
prior to this date, so that the project runs parallel to the campaign, according
Tunick produces large-scale installations only two to four
times a year, usually at request of an art institution or museum.
rarely does it for social causes – only for those that he believes in very
strongly, Fruchter said.
But two were produced, in France and
Switzerland, to support the Greenpeace effort to combat global warming, and most
recently Tunick completed an installation in honor of gay rights, in Sydney,
Both the Dead Sea and Israel are quite important to Tunick, as
he has visited many times and both his father and grandmother live here,
according to Fruchter.
“This project is dear to me, one that I have
dreamed of since my early days as an artist,” said Tunick, in a statement. “I
look forward to your support in exposing a part of Israel that has not been seen
before and at the same time bring attention to the deteriorating situation of
the the Dead Sea.”
Those interested in learning more about the project
can visit www.kickstarter.com
and search for “Tunick.”