World literature is replete with “artists” who bamboozle would-be sophisticates into doing foolish things, usually to the benefit, financial or otherwise, of the “artist.” A master practitioner of this age-old craft is Spencer Tunick, an American photographer who travels around the globe, directing thousands of people to take off their clothes so he can photograph them. Really.
Tunick’s shtick is massing hundreds of naked human bodies in a locale that ostensibly has significance for one reason or another, and photographing them, always from the rear. Tunick wants us to know, though, that he isn’t just a scammer–he’s an environmentalist! Hence his latest project, in which he persuaded hundreds of nude people from all over Europe to pose on Switzerland’s Aletsch glacier to benefit Greenpeace, and call attention to the supposed threat of global warming:
Tunick, perched on a ladder and using a megaphone, directed nearly 600 volunteers from all over Europe and photographed them on a rocky outcrop overlooking the glacier, which is the largest in the Alps.
Later he took pictures of them standing in groups on the mass of ice and lying down. Camera crews were staged at five different points on the glacier to take photographs.
The truly dedicated volunteers, of course, were those who didn’t just stand on the glacier, but sat or lay down on it. As the Reuters story notes, glaciers world-wide have been shrinking since around the start of the Industrial Revolution–that is to say, since the end of the Little Ace Age. They’ll keep shrinking, too, until the next Little Ice Age or, God forbid, a full-fledged Ice Age. Never mind: neither Greenpeace nor Spencer Tunick nor all the governments in the world will have any perceptible impact on the world’s glaciers, but in the meantime, the ranks of those who have been made fools of by Tunick continue to grow. For the record, his latest master work:
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