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Spencer Tunick Will Close Brisbane's Story Bridge to Fill It with Nudes for a New Photography Work in 2024

The New York-based artist is staging one shoot in the River City in November 2023, and will return again for a larger-scale piece in October 2024.
By Sarah Ward
November 15, 2023
By Sarah Ward
November 15, 2023

It isn't just traffic that will bring Brisbane's Story Bridge to a standstill in 2024. On one October Sunday, the famed river crossing will close to cars to become the site of a new nude photography work instead. Staging spectacular pieces filled with naked participants has long been Spencer Tunick's remit — and the New York-based artist has announced his next River City installation in advance of staging his first.

On Saturday, November 18, 2023, Tunick is taking to numerous spots along the Brisbane River for a piece called TIDE, which forms part of this year's MELT Festival and was announced by Brisbane Powerhouse earlier in the year. Featuring around 150 people posing for the camera, that photography shoot is now considered a prequel for Sunday, October 27, 2024, when the Story Bridge will welcome thousands of folks sans clothes.

Cape Town, Spencer Tunick

"This challenging work on the Story Bridge marks the second in my two-part series in Brisbane scheduled one year apart, in 2023 then 2024. It is the first time I have ever worked on installations with the same institution for an extended two-year project. This will allow me to deeply explore the city, its light, environment and its people," said Tunick.

"The series will hopefully speak to diverse groups of people, and everyone navigating their way through the difficult challenges of our current world. It is a privilege to be making art that centres around the LGBTQIA+ community with all its beauty and vibrance."

Lyon, Spencer Tunick

The Story Bridge piece will form part of Melt Open, an expansion of Brisbane Powerhouse's LGBTQIA+ arts and culture festival that'll debut next year. The broader fest is a fringe-style open-access event that, like MELT first, champions diversity. So has Tunick's work for decades, whether he's been in the Whitsundays with almost 100 Aussies in 2019 or briefly turning Bondi into a nude beach in 2022.

Tunick initially turned his lens Australia's way in 2001 in Melbourne, when 4500 naked volunteers posed for a pic near Federation Square as part of the 2001 Fringe Festival. Since then, he's also photographed around 5000 nude people in front of the Sydney Opera House during the 2010 Mardi Gras, then returned to Victoria in 2018 shoot over 800 Melburnians in the rooftop carpark of a Prahran Woolworths.

Elsewhere, Tunick has photographed the public painted red and gold outside Munich's Bavarian State Opera, covered in veils in the Nevada desert and covered in blue in Hull in the UK. The list goes on, with more than 100 temporary installations on his resume since 1992.

Melbourne, Spencer Tunick

"This major Tunick installation featuring thousands of nude bodies on the landmark Story Bridge is a visual expression of the diversity and inclusion that Brisbane's new LGBTQIA+ festival, Melt Open, aims to deliver across the city," said Melt Open Executive Producer Pieta Farrell.

Brisbanites, or anyone who's keen to disrobe on the Story Bridge for a new piece of art, can put their hand up to join in — with the call for volunteers open now. And Tunick does indeed mean anyone, because there's no limit to the number of people who can take part.

If you're not usually located in Brissie and you'd like to get snapped, you will need to travel at your expense. Successful applicants will be informed via email a few weeks prior to the shoot.

Jay Cull

Spencer Tunick's 2024 Story Bridge installation will take place on Sunday, October 27, 2024 during Melt Open. Head to the Brisbane Powerhouse website to register to take part.

TIDE will be shot on Saturday, November 18, 2023 along the Brisbane River as part of MELT Festival 2023, which runs until Sunday, November 26 at Brisbane Powerhouse. For more information or to buy tickets, head to the fest's website now.

Top image: Gateshead, Newcastle, England by Spencer Tunick.

Published on November 15, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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