We’re nothing if not flexible at Museums at Night HQ, and in the run-up to the Connect10 competition we’ve had some really interesting conversations with organisations who are interested in applying for photographer Spencer Tunick but need more time to do location scouting and plan their bid.
So, we’ve extended the deadline to apply for Spencer Tunick to be your Connect10 artist until 11am on Friday 29 November.
To apply to host Spencer Tunick, simply fill in this form.
Spencer Tunick stages scenes in which the battle of nature against culture is played out against various backdrops, from civic center to desert sandstorm, man and woman are returned to a preindustrial, pre-everything state of existence. Tunick has traveled the globe to create these still and video images of multiple nude figures in public settings. Organizing groups from a handful of participants to tens of thousands, all volunteers, is often logistically daunting; the subsequent images transcend ordinary categories and meld sculpture and performance in a new genre.
Installation (c) Spencer Tunick
Given the constant threat of arrest (which has happened several times in his career) Spencer has not undertaken a group installation on the streets of New York in over ten years. In order to make his work without the threat of incarceration, the artist decide to take his work abroad – his most notable installations have been commissioned by Art Basel, Switzerland (1999), Institut Cultura, Barcelona (2003), XXV Biennial de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002), The Saatchi Gallery in London (2003), MOCA Cleveland (2004) and Vienna Kunsthalle (2008).
Spencer Tunick’s Connect10 event idea:
Given the fact that Spencer’s large scale nude installations generally require big budgets and an enormous time investment, this Museums at Night event will involve a more intimate look at his practice. Spencer’s work with ‘scopes’ (individual miniature viewfinders, like the ones he’s is holding in his self-portrait photograph) allows him a more private way of portraying his nude subjects.
The artist holding plastic scopes (c) Spencer Tunick
Just as Andy Warhol used to Polaroid cameras to capture his subjects in intimate small spontaneous portraits, Spencer intends to achieve the same thing. The act of carrying around a private portrait that can only be viewed through a small lens is reminiscent of the way we all use our iPhones to take 21st century Polaroids.
The essence of Spencer’s event will be about the nature of people’s interactions with intimate images and how that has evolved and changed (but stayed intrinsically the same) since the Victorian era ‘What The Butler Saw’ peepshows, through to the heyday of the key-chain viewer in the 50s and 60s to the present day iPhone and Instagram generation.
‘Tunick is a fourth-generation photographer. His great-grandfather owned the first Kodak photo finishing plant in downtown New York. His grandfather was a photographer for the United Nations Council on Foreign Relations, photographing heads of state, like President John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. And his father photographed guests at hotels in the Catskills in the 1960s and ’70s, selling them back their photos in key-chain viewers.’ (From USA Today)
The key-chain viewer or scope will be the hardware in which the photos taken during this unique event will be delivered. Using real film and the E-6 process to develop the images Spencer wants to explore photographic heritage, the nature of collaboration and the contrast between a fast-moving shoot and the more time-consuming production process.
Using this technique, Spencer is proposing a mass performative portrait shoot, either somewhere in Greater London, or at a coastal venue with access to a beach, within 2 hours drive of London. The exact location will only be made available to participants.
This is not a group work, but a series of quickly taken individual portraits. Spencer is looking for 100-250 volunteers to participate in this unique piece of performance art (an even split of men and women) – the application process will be explored with the winning venue. Once all subjects have been photographed, each image will be inserted into its own individual keychain scope and given to each participant as a gift during a special artist-led event at the venue later that evening.
Because Spencer is based in the US and therefore unable to scout locations himself, this process itself will form the basis of the venues’ proposals. We invite London venues and coastal venues in Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Hampshire and East or West Sussex to suggest a location for this work.
Locations need to be: within 200 metres of the venue, visually interesting, preferably off the beaten track, preferably outside, probably quirky, possibly not and perhaps where there’s little or no regular traffic.
Each venue may submit a maximum of 4 proposed locations – one good quality JPG photograph of the location and a brief description (25 words each max.) required.
This shoot will take place during the day before the evening event. Later that evening Spencer would like to host a special event at the winning venue for all the participants although other non-participants could also attend. It’s during this event that the finished artworks will be presented to each participant. The aim of the evening is for each person to walk away with a genuine Spencer Tunick artwork in their hands. But will they want their own image in the viewfinder or that of a nude stranger? Just one question this event can explore. It would also be interesting to find a way of displaying the complete collection of images taken earlier that day so participants get a sense of the project as a whole. The detail of this finale event is also open to proposals.
Spencer is available to venues situated in the Greater London area or on the coast (with access to the beach) within a two-hour drive from London. The shoot would take place on the day of Thursday or Friday and the evening event on Friday or Saturday.
Up to £1,000 of the venue’s £2,000 prize money is earmarked to pay for the scope viewfinders that Spencer will use for the event.
To apply to host Spencer Tunick, simply fill in this form.