Australian museum holding naked art tours

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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.

People contemplating the idea of participation don’t have to worry about nosy on-lookers or Peeping Toms. The tours, which are adults-only, are held after the museum’s regular hours. The museum notes on its website that changing areas are available.

The objective behind requiring viewers to browse art in their birthday suits is manifold. But one of the reasons is to remove any ‘barriers’ between artist and the works of art and to gain a ‘new perspective’ on the current exhibitions, according to the museum. 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. No lewd activity was tolerated.

At one point, Ringholt held a discussion with the visitors about their collective and individual experiences touring the galleries naked.

Ringholt’s work as an artist has addressed the idea of public embarrassment. His performance pieces have featured him walking with toilet paper stuck to his pants and having phlegm run from his nose.


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-- David Ng