Rudie nudie tours

What hinders you from experiencing art?

Our guess is it’s unlikely to be your oppressive pants or your unbearably perspective-limiting shirt. But Melbourne-based contemporary artist Stuart Ringholt, begs to differ: he’s of the opinion that those clothes on your back may well be stopping you from a complete museum experience and has signed on to present a series of rudie nudie tours.

The chilly willy tours will run at NGA this April as part of the James Turrell retrospective currently on show, and the three ‘exclusive events’ are aimed at changing the way you experience immersive art like Turrell’s.

Beginning April 1, the three exclusive NGA tours will be available to 150 visitors who are keen and willing to strip off.

Ringholt says, “James’ focus is very much on light, perception, the sun and moon, and all things celestial. He has this idea that the skin drinks in light in the form of vitamin D, so it seemed a perfect match really.”

So beginning April 1, the three exclusive NGA tours will be available to 150 visitors who are keen and willing to strip off. The gallery will be closed to the public during the tours and to the prying eyes of the security cameras.

It’s not the first time nakedness and Turrell have teamed up; a nude tour had previously been done during one of his exhibitions in Japan, and several other artists come to mind whose work blurs the boundary between ‘experiencing art’ and the experience of art.

Think no further than Marina Abramovic’s awkward doorway squeeze between two naked strangers at MOMA in 2010, or the cosy and alluringly tactile, fuzzy installations of Kathy Temin which could easily entice a nude audience to fawn like cats on her faux fur surfaces.

All this however, may just prove too much for the average punter; the dread of skin on skin and its incumbent awkward moments may well drive them far from the national capital and Turrell’s essential light, holding tightly to their trousers.

We jest, but in all seriousness if you’re not going to be cloaking your duds along with your backpack anytime soon, it does make you wonder how much more of art could have otherwise been experienced sans clothes.


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