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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Artist Spencer Tunick's Plans to Stage a Mass Nude Work on a Melbourne Rooftop Have Been Quashed

The Prahran Woolworths has refused the artist access to its rooftop carpark.
By Samantha Teague and Libby Curran
June 07, 2018
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Artist Spencer Tunick's Plans to Stage a Mass Nude Work on a Melbourne Rooftop Have Been Quashed

The Prahran Woolworths has refused the artist access to its rooftop carpark.
By Samantha Teague and Libby Curran
June 07, 2018
  shares

It was announced in May, that acclaimed New York artist Spencer Tunick would be returning to Australia this July to stage another famed mass nude photograph as part of Chapel Street Precinct's Provocaré Festival of the Arts.

It has been 17 years since Melbourne's first taste of the polarising artist's work, when 4500 naked volunteers posed for a snap near Federation Square as part of the 2001 Fringe Festival. Tunick then photographed around 5000 nude people in front of the Sydney Opera House during the 2010 Mardi Gras. Since then, he's 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.

Now, the artist is returning to our shores, and his sights are set on Melbourne's Chapel Street. Tunick will assemble another contingent of naked (and pretty brave) folk between July 7–10, for a work titled Return of the Nude. 

The exact locations were, until recently, a secret, but this morning it was announced that the artist had intended to stage the hero shot on the Prahran Woolworth's rooftop carpark  against a Melbourne skyline backdrop at 9am on Saturday, July 7.

Plans have, however, come to a standstill as Woolworths has declined access to its rooftop carpark, quoting 'potential loss of trade' as its reasoning. A spokesperson for the supermarket giant told news.com.au, "we will always put the convenience of our local customers first" and "the request for the photo was for the weekend, which is the busiest time of the week for shopping in our stores".

In response to Woolworth's decision, the Chapel Street Precinct Association (CSPA) — the festival's host organisation — has launched a petition in an attempt to put pressure on the supermarket chain and get it reversed. You can sign the petition here.

John Lotton, CSPA's executive chairman, said in a press release: "[CSPA] undertook detailed reconnaissance before approaching Woolworths to ensure Spencer's installation would not cause a detrimental impact to trading in the store. We have photographic proof that only four cars used the carpark at this time on a Saturday."

While the location of the hero shot is being debated, the rest of the shoot will still take place somewhere in the Chapel Street Precinct. And, if you'd like to participate — anyone over the age of 18 can git their kit off and get involved — there's still time to register. Participants each get a print of the photograph, and, we're sure, a big boost of body confidence.

Provocaré will take place across the Chapel Street Precinct from July 5–15, with Return of the Nude being shot over two days between July 7 and 10. 

Published on June 07, 2018 by Samantha Teague

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