Naked tour at National Gallery Canberra offers new perspective

By Maria Kyriacou

Naked tour at National Gallery Canberra offers new perspective
Canberra Art Gallery exhibition sees gallery-goers ditching their clothes to experience the art of James Turrell

Does viewing art without your clothes on offer a different perspective? A group of naked gallery goers seem to think so. The National Gallery of Australia has held its first-ever nude exhibition of artist James Turrell’s retrospective.

Instagram: Christo Crocker Image courtesy National Gallery of Australia


The out of hours special showing, saw a select group of 50 punters disrobing as they entered the exhibition, following a 20-minute debrief about safety, protocol and hygiene.

Writer Benjamin Law was among the group taking in the sights on the walls and walking the floors. He said,

“As we were experiencing some of the art and you look around and see people in their naked forms, they do look like they’re part of the art.”

The gallery’s outnumbered staff and security remained clothed, with the art-loving nudists said becoming more social as they lost their clothes according to Law.

“I think it has to do with the fact that we were forced to make eye contact – because you don’t want to look anywhere else. Because everyone was in this strange, funny, completely surreal experience people bonded really quickly,” he said.

Law who had experienced the exhibition both naked and clothed said it added a “sculptural” element.

Several people travelled from interstate to strip off and experience art in this novel way, with Melbourne-based artist Stuart Ringholt who led the tour describing it as an experiment.

“He (Turrell) has a room which is called the Gansfield room. It’s coloured light and it was really quite beautiful to see people exit,” he said.

“In a space of just a second people moved through four different skin colour hues. Their bodies changed radically. It was almost like they were a changeling from a science fiction film or something.”

The final naked tour will take part on Thursday, despite Ringhold saying it had been a great success so far and demand for more was high.



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