Naked art tours at Australian Museum

Posted filed underAustralia, Shows.

Nudity in art is as old as civilization itself. But nudity while viewing art? That requires a bit of an explanation.

Australia’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney will be holding tours in which participants are required to shed their clothes and wander the galleries completely naked. The tours, taking place April 27-29, are organized by conceptual artist Stuart Ringholt, who will also be in the buff as he leads participants through the building. Ringholt has held his brand of naked tours at other Australian museums, including the Australian Center for Contemporary Art and Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania.

One account of Ringholt’s naked tour at the former institution features some telling details of the care that goes into planning the event. Ringholt informed his participants that they should use the restrooms before getting undressed and that shoes were allowed.

MOCA Australia curator Rachel Kent frankly admitted to The Wall Street Journal that “Sydney loves nude people.” We can only assume her insight means that when it comes to feeling more connected to art, this is exactly what Sydneysiders are looking for.

One blogger, Mark W. Free, explained his own experience taking part in a Ringholt nude tour at the Australian Center for Contemporary Art in Melbourne late last year:

Standing in ACCA’s cavernous lobby, we assemble as a charismatically bumbling Stuart Ringholt runs through some general house keeping; dos and don’ts just in case some of us need to be reminded that just because we consent to being nude together doesn’t open the door for any other lewd or untoward behaviour. This is easily the most nerve-wracking part of the whole experience. Imagine you’re being rallied together on a school excursion except everyone is a stranger and you’re about to see one another’s junk.

… After some quiet perusal the group assembles and an informal discussion ensues. Stuart talks about his art and others’, we all talk about how we’re feeling and before you know it we’re back out in the light of day fully clothed and I hardly recognise a soul. It’s strange to think that anonymity can be achieved alongside such intimacy.

The nude tours run from April 27–29, 2012 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (George Street, The Rocks, New South Wales, Australia), followed by a nude reception. Adults only. Changing area available.