ROVE: In the studio with me today, I have Spencer Tunick. Spencer, what do you do?And that was it. He clearly didn't go in much for introspective personal analysis. And he didn't really have any explanation, just a punchline: 'I am a conceptual artist'.
SPENCER: I take photographs of naked people.
ROVE: Why do you take photographs of naked people?
SPENCER: I am a conceptual artist.
I still don't know why he's not taking pictures for Playboy. What's the difference between taking pictures of naked people and selling them as porn, and taking pictures of naked people and selling them as conceptual art?
And it's not as if nakedness is so revolutionary now anyway: ancient Greek artists were taking pictures of naked people, only they used up more chisels and blocks of marble. Tunick pretty much does the same thing, only more so - instead of having one naked person, he'll throw naked people all over the place. People crowd up to be the naked people in his photographs of naked people.
There's a documentary about Spencer Tunick on television at the moment, and I just saw one naked woman in Melbourne break down. "That was the most beautiful experience I had in my life!" she sobs (collapsing in the arms of the HIV positive 'Health Supervisor' for the whole event). A few moments earlier she had been telling us how wonderfully calming the whole thing was.
Spencer waddles through all this with a compulsive grin on his face, the grin of a man who thinks he is doing something naughty but has forgotten what.
Apparently Spencer describes himself as a serious conceptual artist, though it's possible this guy hasn't had a new concept for a long time. I think he should take up a job selling ads for Hustler magazine.
Just conceptually, of course.
Mummy, when I grow up, I want to take pictures of naked people but it won't be porn.
Spencer Tunick quotes:
"It has to be me... they don't have to be technically good shots..."
"It's certainly exciting to be in the show with a lot of these artists. It's great!"
"I think the Brazilians are getting too close to my photographs."