A thousand naked people floating in the Dead Sea
Many things in life are best enjoyed in small doses: a glass of red wine at dinner, or a twenty-minute power nap. When it comes to full-frontal nudity, however, artist Spencer Tunick is guided by a “more is more” philosophy. Honestly, who cares about one clammy pale butt when you could feast your eyes on thousands?
So last week, Tunick convinced over a thousand people to strip down and float buck-nakey in the Dead Sea, creating one of the most bizarre, un-Photoshopped images I’ve encountered in awhile. Apparently, the project was meant to draw attention to Israel’s efforts to have the salt-saturated sea – which geologists predict will dry up by 2050 – recognized as a natural wonder of the world.
Tunick is an expert at staging mass, all-nude gatherings (he even arranged naked bodies on a glacier in Switzerland), but putting together a naked photoshoot in a religiously conservative country like Israel is a tricky proposition. Tunick was met with staunch resistance from Orthodox Jewish politicians and rabbis who condemned the “Soddom and Gommorah” nature of his work. But being a smartypants, Tunick chose to do the shoot on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, so fewer people would be out walking and take offense at what would probably be the most offensive spectacle ever.
I just really want to know how you get a thousand people to agree to take all their clothes off at the same time. Does he pay them? Or bake them cookies? I can only imagine coming across that Craigslist posting: “Thousand volunteers needed to get freaky in Israel.”