Nude muse: Artist's naked models bare all to expose Dead Sea dry up

15 men and women shed their clothes to shed light on the deterioration of the salty basin for renowned US artist Spencer Tunick's new installation.

US artist Spencer Tunick's new Dead Sea installation (photo credit: SPENCER TUNICK)
US artist Spencer Tunick's new Dead Sea installation
(photo credit: SPENCER TUNICK)
Five years after summoning about a thousand Israelis to disrobe at the Dead Sea, American installation artist Spencer Tunick has brought nude art to the salty basin once again.
In a completely secret and confidential arrangement this Sunday, Tunick photographed a group of 15 naked men and women as part of his mission to save the increasingly deteriorating Dead Sea environment.
At the installation, the participants posed with their lower bodies below the ground, demonstrating the danger posed to the Dead Sea by the ongoing phenomenon of sinkholes.
“Since 1991, I have traveled the world making immersive art with people of all races, religions and nationalities.
But Israel is a unique place that I hold close to my heart and is the only country in the Middle East where I can be allowed to have proper freedom of expression,” Tunick said. “I care deeply about the future of the Dead Sea and hope that my presence and involvement here can propel the Israeli government and local activists to take real measurable action to save the Dead Sea.”
While at the Dead Sea over the weekend, Tunick visited the site where he photographed his previous installation, Mineral Beach, which he said had already been destroyed by sinkholes.
Tunick’s project five years ago, called “Naked Sea,” initially faced much protest due to the nudist element of his work. Nonetheless, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the massive project took place as planned, with about 1,200 Israelis and tourists between the ages of 18 and 77 participating at the time.
Tunick has been photographing and videotaping nude installations for twoand- a-half decades, promoting social causes through his artwork all over the world. His most recent art installation was “100 Naked Women” at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, protesting against Donald Trump.
As far as this weekend’s Dead Sea installation is concerned, Israeli environmentalists praised Tunick for his efforts on behalf of the shrinking basin.
Dr. Clive Lipchin, director of the Center for Transboundary Water Management at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, emphasized how Tunick’s visit to the region “will help to raise the topic with decision makers throughout the world, since unfortunately, the Israeli government so far has failed miserably regarding this issue.”
“The Dead Sea we once knew doesn’t exist anymore,” Lipchin said. “The harm that has been done on all environmental levels has caused damages that are partly irreversible, and for those that still can be fixed – the window of opportunity is narrow and will soon be closed.”
MK Yael Cohen Paran (Zionist Union), chairwoman of the Knesset’s Lobby for Saving the Dead Sea, likewise thanked Tunick for joining in the campaign to preserve the salty basin.
“Israel must take responsibility for the destruction of nature over the years, and there is an opportunity for cooperation between countries in the region,” Cohen Paran said, noting that her lobby is currently promoting a number of solutions for the basin, such as increasing the Jordan River’s flow and downsizing the Dead Sea factories.
“We have to stop the expansion of sinkholes, a phenomenon inflicting widespread ecological destruction, and a danger to life,” she added.
Tunick will be staying in Israel until next weekend, continuing his efforts to raise public awareness about the Dead Sea sinkholes. On Wednesday, he will unveil a new exhibition at Tel Aviv’s Fourth Florentin gallery, where a selection of his international works will be on display for the next two weeks.
“I’ve been on the ground and as you can all see, this is a disaster,” Tunick said. “I call the Israeli government – wake up! I am not sure if we will have this same opportunity again.”