BY: MIROSLAV TOMOSKI
When New York photographer Spencer Tunick announced his latest project, titled Everything She Says Means Everything, he received an overwhelming response from women who were willing to pose nude in front of the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland where the Republican Party is expected to announce Trump as its official candidate.
Though 1,500 volunteers signed up for the project, the final product is only meant to include 100 women who will hold up large mirrors in what the artist’s official website says is a reflection of, “the knowledge and wisdom of progressive women and the concept of “Mother Nature.”
Tunick has said that this particular installation was inspired by the infamously turbulent election year of 1968 and the demonstrations held that year during the Democratic Convention in Chicago. But this year’s photo shoot is one of several exhibitions of mass nudity he has staged around the world and his second project in the city of Cleveland. In June of 2004, Tunick organised 2,754 volunteers to pose in a ‘river of nude bodies’ along the East 9th Street Pier.
This year’s event is expected to take place across from the Quicken Loans Center at dawn on Sunday July 17th, the day before the Republican Party crowns Donald Trump as their nominee.
“[T]he work is for my daughters, for their future, for them not to grow up in a society with hate, for them to grow up in a world with less violence toward women and more opportunities for them.” Tunick told Cleveland’s SCENE.
But not everyone in Cleveland is happy about the photographer’s return to the city. When another local website, cleveland.com, asked for opinions on the event the responses were dismissive and questioned the artist’s intentions.
“Art? Hmmmm … Sorry, mass nudity of this sort with people stripped away of their identity makes me recoil.” said the website’s chief editorial writer, Sharon Broussard.
Others suggested that Tunick was taking advantage of the women who participate in his work saying,
“To tone down the rhetoric of hate and prejudice against women, in which no one is engaging, the “artist” will recruit 100 women to exploit for his own gain.”
Tunick himself is no stranger to provocation, having already been arrested in New York for his work. It’s not likely that he expects an arena full of conservative celebrities, pro-lifers, and Trump supporters to welcome a hundred nude women on their doorstep, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. In an interview with Esquire, he shared the reasons some of the volunteers provided for participating in the shoot:
“I would like to participate in this specifically because I’m not supposed to. Today is my 47th birthday. That alone means, as far as society is concerned, I shouldn’t be nude outside the home…I shouldn’t be naked, says America. I’m a married lady and no one should see me in the buff besides my husband and my doctor, says the world.”
“As a woman, I want to stand up for my reproductive rights. As a Hispanic, I want to be seen as a member of this community. As a first-generation American, I want to show that anyone deserves the opportunity to come here. As a young woman, I want to embrace my body and everyone else’s size and shape. As a human being, I want to stand up against Trump and other Republicans whose hateful speech towards women, immigrants, LGBT people, and all ‘others’ is poisoning this nation.”