Prudity And Nudity

Munich. Odeon HallIn my post Architecture Оf Flesh, I wrote about the Moscow’s exhibit of Spencer Tunick’s  monumental artworks.  Since the early 1990s, Tunick has organized more than 75 temporary installations in public spaces worldwide. He deftly positions dozens, hundreds, or thousands of nude volunteers to define and expand his chosen locations, and then takes photographs. On the suggestion of readers, I’ll add some more on the subject.

This is an excerpt from Tunick’s bio taken from his homepage:

Spencer Tunick’s body of work explores and expands the social, political and legal issues surrounding art in the public sphere. Since 1992, Tunick has been arrested five times while attempting to work outdoors in New York City… 

Tunick’s most notable works have been commissioned by Art Basel, Switzerland (1999), Institut Cultura, Barcelona (2003), XXV Biennial de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002), The Saatchi Gallery(2003), Vienna Kunsthalle (2008), MOCA Cleveland (2004) among others.

Since the early 1990s, Tunick has organized more than 75 temporary installations in public spaces worldwide. He deftly positions dozens, hundreds, or thousands of nude volunteers to define and expand his chosen locations, and then takes photographs. In Cleveland on June 26, 2004, Tunick created his largest North American installation to date. As part of an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), Tunick positioned more than 2,700 people along East 9th Street. The figures rhythmically define this urban space while adding a sense of humanity. The project was a compelling union of sculpture, performance, and public art beautifully captured in this striking color image. The elongated, abstract mass of flesh challenges one’s notion of nudity and privacy. Gift of Timothy and Nancy Callahan, Stewart and Donna Kohl, and Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz 2004.69
Cleveland, Ohio. The elongated, abstract mass of flesh challenges one’s notion of nudity and privacy.
Gift of Timothy and Nancy Callahan, Stewart and Donna Kohl, and
Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz 2004.69

The Cleveland event took place 5 years after we moved from Cleveland to Colorado. I’m sure it has been a tremendous cultural event. Cleveland is notable for its significant cultural tradition and heritage, and for my favorite place — the Cleveland  Museum of Art. Still, I’m certain the Tunick’s event has shaken up the town and stirred some passions.  It has been, indeed, an uproariously controversial affair.

On June 26, 2004, Tunick created his largest North American installation to date. As part of an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), Tunick positioned more than 2,700 people along East 9th Street. The figures rhythmically define this urban space while adding a sense of humanity. The project was a compelling union of sculpture, performance, and public art beautifully captured in this striking color image.

Interesting that Mr. Tunick never had problems with staging his exhibits outside of the US. He felt particularly welcomed working in the UK, and he attributes this fertile creative atmosphere to a lasting legacy of — surprise! —Queen Victoria.

This is one of the most recognized portraits of the Queen. Victoria is a solemn widow, resplendent of attire and sad of eyes.

1887_postcard_of_Queen_Victoria

This portrait is known as ‘the secret picture’. Painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, it was commissioned by the young Queen as a present for her beloved husband for his 24th birthday. Languorous rubenesque beauty with dreamy eyes…

The 1843 portrait of Victoria. The portrait, known as ‘the secret picture’, was commissioned by the young Queen in 1843 as a 24th birthday present for her beloved husband Albert. It was painted by the respected artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
The 1843 portrait of Victoria.

Over the years, Queen Victoria presented Albert with several artworks where naked bodies were gloriously exposed.  William Dyce’s Neptune Resigning To Britannia The Empire Of the Sea is one of them.

Queen Victoria ordered Scottish painter William Dyce to create Neptune Resigning To Britannia The Empire Of the Sea - a large fresco of the Roman god playing naked with a gaggle of nude nymphs. At the time, Dyce wrote that Prince Albert 'thought it rather nude' but the queen had no issue with it.
Queen Victoria ordered Scottish painter William Dyce to create Neptune Resigning To Britannia The Empire Of the Sea – a large fresco of the Roman god playing naked with a gaggle of nude nymphs. At the time, Dyce wrote that Prince Albert ‘thought it rather nude’ but the queen had no issue with it.

As it happened, dashing Prince Albert was a prude. He frowned on the exposure of flesh, although could not refuse the offering of the heavily nude paintings as birthday presents. She lauded as ‘very beautiful’ the statue of Prince Albert with bare feet and a short kilt. Later, however, Albert arranged to slap a bit more plaster on it to cover up exposed limbs, leaving the sight of them, in flesh, to the eves of the adoring wife with a penchant for it.

Queen Victoria “had a passion for nudity. […] I think there was such a strong love for the nude in art by Queen Victoria that it sort of set your mindset towards body and art. […] It survived and is flourishing today.’ (Spencer Tunick).

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