Saturday, November 08, 2008

Alas, Poor Tunick


This just in: Spencer Tunick is still a hack.

Hold on ... receiving another report ... and the media still writes about him. That wouldn't bother me except that they neglect to point out that when he says his work "explores the relationships and comfort levels of people in a party atmosphere" he means to say "I'm doing the same thing again, and continuing to claim it's more than it is."

You can more or less write all future Spencer Tunick articles ahead of time: "Yesterday, Spencer Tunick photographed a large or small group of people without clothes. He then issued a press release claiming his work is greatly significant, despite the fact that you can't find a single reputable curator who's interested in it. (Of course, finding people to sell it -- that's easier, and a different thing altogether. Blue Dog paintings sell. Nagel prints sell.) The press release mentioned AIDS, global warming, issues of representation or something else not actually related to the work. Managing editors read four words into the release -- as far as the word 'nude' -- and assigned the story to a writer who copied and pasted in the text of a previous article, replacing only the location of the event and a quote from someone who may or may not have actually been there."

New York Magazine covers the latest event:

Spencer Tunick Got a Bunch of People Naked in Brooklyn the Other Night

Warning: the article has a teensy-tiny photo that is NSFW (not safe for work) viewing if you work somewhere where people have superhuman eyesight.

Best article on the general lameness of the Spencer Tunick experience:

Why doesn't Spencer Tunick get any respect?

The problem with Tunick as an artist—and the main reason, I think, most critics have ignored him—is that he doesn't seem to have anything to say. His installations are spectacular and attention-grabbing, but as for what it all means … well, to put it bluntly, I don't think it extends too far beyond, "Wow. That's a lot of naked people."
Above: on 86th Street.

2 comments:

Christography said...

I thought his documentary "Naked States" was entertaining, and find his work to be interesting. Granted, he does repeat himself, but I believe there is more to his work than "just a lot of naked people".

Ted Fisher said...

Well, entertaining, yes. In fact, I think there are two other docs on him, maybe three, and I've probably seen them.

Still, I think he'd be easier to take without the claims of greatness. If his approach was just "Hey, I do this, it's fun..." I'd have an easier time than I do with his "These are Installations!" approach.

Especially with the claims he makes to the work being about AIDs, global warming, etc.

I'm sure I'll look the next time he does a project, but I expect I won't be surprised or intrigued....

tf