Over 200 people posed in their birthday suits last week for Spencer Tunick’s latest art installation at Alexandra Palace.
Artist Spencer Tunick’s latest art installation saw 220 people posing completely naked – with the exception of face masks – for a photoshoot at Alexandra Palace. On Thursday morning, these volunteers stripped down, put on their face masks and braved the cold to create one of the largest collective art pieces Britain has seen since the lockdown in March. According to the artist, the project was all “about breaking barriers down” and celebrating community in these trying times.
Tunick is known for his risque artwork and often features dozens of nude models in his projects, but this one seems to have made quite the impact due to the context. He said “The reality of masses of people close together – shoulder to shoulder, skin touching skin – may be something of the past for now, but still the desire is there for that natural connectivity, perhaps more so now than ever.” He continued that the experience was “liberating and life-affirming.”
Among the volunteers were doctors, nurses, teachers and home care workers, all of which had been on the frontlines during the pandemic. One of the doctors involved said “I think it’s incredibly important to reach people in different ways about mask-wearing and other precautions than the didactic way that come sometimes happen, so I think this is a great project.” And to be fair, wearing nothing but face masks is definitely one way to get people’s attention.
The photoshoot was commissioned by the Sky Arts channel to mark its transition from a paid channel to one that is free for all to enjoy, with a celebration of freedom and unity. And rest assured, Covid-19 guidelines were taken very seriously, with social distancing measures in place, regular temperature checks taken and of course, face masks worn by all.
Phil Edgar Jones, the director of Sky Arts, added “To celebrate Sky Arts becoming free for everyone, we wanted to create a landmark cultural moment that invited participation in a Covid-safe fashion, and demonstrated to the wider public that art is at its most essential when it is for – and about – everyone.” And by the looks of things, they did exactly that!