The Power of the Female Body
A leader in the world of nude art, Spencer Tunick is no stranger to large-scale projects that attract plenty of attention.
Most recently, the photographer organized a massive and eye-catching artistic protest in Cleveland that coincided with the start of the Republican National Convention in order to shed some light onto the politics and policies of presumptive nominee Donald Trump. Needless to say, both Republicans and Democrats are torn over Tunick’s project, Everything She Says Means Everything, which had 100 naked women protest peacefully outside of the the Quicken Loans Arena.
Critics questioned: is parading women around naked the best way to fight for women’s rights? Or does Spencer’s art demonstrate a complete lack of sanity? Is it even art? And what were they all carrying?
As it turned out, the artistic project packed a powerful message the RNC couldn’t ignore.
Born in Middletown, New York in 1967, Spencer Tunick discovered his love for photography while very young, and he found his passion for nude muses shortly thereafter. His concept of a mass nude grouping began in 1994 when he put 28 naked people in front of the United Nations building in Manhattan, later saying, “It all started there, moving my work from just photography into installation and performance photography.”
On the subject of these large-scale nude “performances,” Tunick has said that “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.”
Since 2001, Tunick has been conducting these major installations, with a record of 18,000 nude participants in a 2007 project in Mexico City. His most recent project in Cleveland took a political turn, and, though it involved just 100 nude female models, this was still a large undertaking for the artist, who had never done anything of this sort in the United States where he says “the naked body is viewed as crime or violence.”
Everything She Says Means Everything
Protests outside of political conventions are nothing new, but 100 naked women of all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds coming together outside of the Republican National Convention was certainly a unique welcoming party.
Over 1,800 women applied to be a part of the project, which Tunick says drew its inspiration from “Mother Nature” and the sacred feminine. After 100 women were picked, they posed nude outside of the Quicken Loans Arena holding nothing but mirrors, which Tunick used as props to reflect the goings on of the convention.
“By holding mirrors, we hope to suggest that women are a reflection and embodiment of nature, the sun, the sky and the land,” Tunick wrote on his website. We want to express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it. The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of, the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman.”