To artist Spencer Tunick, there’s more to public nudity than trench coats and indecency lawsuits. Tunick, who has made a career out of challenging popular sensibilities of privacy and the human body, will bring his work and insights to UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Sunday, November 23, when he will display and discuss slides and videos of his arresting art installations.
The 39-year-old Tunick has received attention for creating photographs in which groups of nude men and women, often numbering in the hundreds, occupy public spaces, from a campus square in Mexico City to an art museum in Venezuela. One image depicts a legion of nudes lying on their sides on the floor of New York’s Grand Central Station, their bodies carpeting the ground. In another, the figures stand in the middle of the station as if snapped to attention, while the Stars and Stripes hang from the ceiling in the background.
Tunick has organized more than 75 installations and has photographed internationally, including projects in Spain, Brazil, and France. Wherever he goes, he incorporates elements of sculpture, performance, and land art into his work.
“Spencer Tunick’s body of work may come to help define the social, political, and legal issues surrounding art in the public sphere,” said Kathleen Jequinto of the Associated Students Program Board, the sponsor of the upcoming event at UCSB. “[He] continues to organize installations that challenge one’s views of nudity and privacy.”
The artist, whose work has been documented on such networks as HBO and Cinemax, often addresses other taboos and issues of the human condition in his art: One installation incorporates 85 HIV-positive nudes in poses ranging from the affectionate to the deathlike; another uses persons with eating disorders. Despite his use of nakedness, Tunick makes a point to avoid sexual overtones in his work.
“Tunick’s art inspires a generation to think outside the conventions of classic artistry,” said the A.S. Program Board’s Christie McSweeney. “His installations incorporate art with contemporary messages about society such as politics and world epidemics like AIDS. I am very excited to hear his story and witness these works on a larger scale.”
Tunick will show and discuss his work at UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Sunday, November 23, at 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 893-2064 or visit asprogramboard.com. For more on Tunick, check out spencertunick.com.
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Ryan Faughnder is an intern at the Independent.