Spencer Tunick, of New York, is looking for 100 women to pose nude while holding mirrors in Cleveland at sunrise on July 17, the week of the GOP convention. Those who are interested can sign up by submitting a photo at his website, www.spencertunickcleveland.com. (An unsurprising heads-up: the website includes graphic, but artistic, images of nude people.)
Tunick told Cleveland Scene, which broke the news of the project, that he plans to hold the photo shoot on private property, in part so he doesn’t have to deal with police and the “hassle of permits.” A handful of groups already have applied for permits to demonstrate during the GOP convention, and more are expected.
Tunick’s last Cleveland project was in 2004, when he photographed 2,754 people on East 9th Street near the lakefront on a chilly, 57-degree Saturday. He also took smaller, gender-segregated shots at the William G. Mather Museum and the lawn in Voinovich Park.
The photo of the full crowd was unveiled later that summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in University Circle.
Why 100 nude women? Why mirrors? Tunick explains on his website:
“The photograph will involve 100 nude women holding large mirror discs, reflecting the knowledge and wisdom of progressive women and the concept of ‘Mother Nature’ into and onto the convention center, cityscape and horizon of Cleveland. The philosophy of the artwork relates to the idea of the sacred feminine. By holding mirrors, we hope to suggest that women are a reflection and embodiment of nature, the sun, the sky and the land. We want to express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it. The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of, the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman.”
Tunick told Scene his project is meant to “energize the city, to heat it up, and this ray of light bringing knowledge and helping maybe to tone down the rhetoric of hate and prejudice against women preceding the convention.”
Tunick told Scene he was inspired to shoot during the GOP convention after seeing a 2007 film about the Chicago 8, a group of activists who were federally charged following the explosive 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. According to Scene:
“I never really do protest work,” Tunick said. “And I thought maybe I don’t want Cleveland to be a protest work. Maybe I want it to be a work that women can be part of, maybe to heighten the idea that women will decide the outcome of this election and will have a more powerful presence in the future of politics, the future of the country, and the future of the world. It’s not so much a protest but an action, a wake-up call to the absurdity of politics and discrimination.”