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November 1, 2003
|Artists, like rock stars, are famous for getting women to take off their clothes. As artists go, Spencer Tunick is a rock star. Not only do women flock to him by the thousands - wearing no underwear, at his request - and immediately disrobe, they do it in the middle of Grand Central Station's Main Terminal for all the world to see.
Even for those who are familiar with Tunick's work, this short film of his Grand Central installation is fascinating. The terminal - normally a hub of clothed movement and change - is taken over by a sea of nude bodies. Sometimes, they're lying on top of each other, sometimes they're lying side by side in a radiating sunburst pattern. The softness of the flesh and the subtle changes in skin tone are unexpectedly arresting.
It must have been fun to be one of the models on that day: to take off your clothes in one of the grandest spaces in the world, to gaze at the constellations on the 130-foot ceiling while lying on the marble floor. Imagine being able to return to Grand Central someday in the future, grandchildren in tow, and to tell them about the time their grandmother took her clothes off in this very room, with thousands of other women. But Tunick gets the ultimate prize: The next time he passes through Grand Central Station, he can walk around thinking, the last time I was here, it looked sexier . . . in about a thousand ways. Whitney Lawson
Naked World, a documentary about Spencer Tunick's work, is showing throughout November on HBO.
For more information, visit http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/naked_world
View Spencer Tunick's work on Nerve at www.nerve.com/nudeadrift/