Editors’ Blog

One Naked Larry is Not Art

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

By Larry Smith

Slate is a like a box of chocolates. Some days it runs a big piece on Bill Clinton and black voters, others days the top story is about a photographer obsessed with naked people. Today it was the latter, a piece about Spencer Tunick, One Naked Person Is Art (How About 600?). What do I have to do with Mr. Tunick and his ability to get thousands of people to pose nude from fancy theaters in Belgium to sweaty Phish concerts in Maine? I was one of those people. In 1997, Tunick brought his act Boston, spencertunick-ls107.jpgwhere I was working for the up-and-coming P.O.V. Magazine. A press release arrived on my desk. It seemed some ‘artist” had imminent plans to assemble a couple dozen people, buck naked, on the steps of the Boston Library, at 6am. Given that all hopes of a political career ended by age 16 (the point was to inhale!) and I had pages of a magazine to fill without much money to do it*, I decided to write the Tunick story myself, employing the time-honored tradition of participatory journalism. Tunick went on to make a name for himself creating either smut or art, depending on the eye of the beholder. I say it’s art. But then again, I’m biased. Click on this image for a better look.

If you like stories about making art in the buff, especially featuring much more attractive writers than myself, read Cole Kazdin’s terrific tale of posing nude for an insane artist in New York City’s East Village.

* Yes, I know, it sounds familiar. I guess I’ve come full circle.
*Tunick image via Flickr user grewlike.

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44 responses

  1. jah says:

    Shouldn’t this be under Brushes with Femmes? Just asking.

    Oh, and “Click on this image for a better look.”?


  2. BRW says:

    I once had the opportunity to pose nude for an art class as a work-study gig. When the instructor outlined the job she explained that posing nude only paid $.50 an hour more than posing clothed. I decided that my modesty was worth at least 50 cents, so my naked form as rendered by 2nd-year art students remains unavailable.

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