Artist Spencer Tunick to Speak at SUNY New Paltz

NEW PALTZ — Image available at Celebrated artist Spencer Tunick, known for posing and photographing hundreds of nude volunteers in public places such as cities, on bridges, and in natural landscapes, will deliver a slide lecture and discuss his work on Wednesday, May 2, 2001 at SUNY New Paltz. The lecture, which is presented by the Student Art Alliance, a funded member of the Student Association, will be held in LC 112 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to all.

Spencer Tunick’s performances encompass dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of volunteers, which he records in photographs and video. Framed by vast undefined spaces, Tunick combines elements of installation and sculpture and breaks past limitations imposed by regional mores, creating a dynamic tension between the human figure and the outside world.

Volunteers in these performances are most often grouped together and lying prone, the individual bodies becoming one large organism that extends into and upon the landscape. These grouped masses challenge one’s views of nudity and privacy without emphasizing sexuality. His work also references the complex issues of presenting art in permanent or temporary public spaces.

Spencer Tunick’s work has been the subject of numerous court cases on the state and federal level. At issue are three questions: whether Tunick’s proposed photo shoot constitutes entertainment or performance in a play, exhibition or show; if so, whether the exemptions to the anti-nudity law are limited to indoor activities; and third, if the exemptions so interpreted are valid under the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, the U.S. Court of Appeals criticized New York City’s advocacy of “an interpretation [of the law] that would single out and ban photo shoots, however artistic and whether indoors or outdoors, but would authorize other types of nude performances, at least indoors, regardless of how erotic and/or lacking in artistic content.”

Spencer Tunick is receiving widespread attention. Prior to his appearance at SUNY New Paltz, he is scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Monday, April 30). On Friday, May 4, Tunick will introduce the HBO documentary about his work, titled “Naked States,” at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

For information on other upcoming arts events at SUNY New Paltz, go to the following web page:


An image by Spencer Tunick is available at