Art | At Vienna stadium installation, ‘you will only be nude for a short period of time’

Within and between the new Vorstädte there were large areas of unregulated, unclaimed common land—from half-finished building sites, to open fields, to semi-agricultural commons; it was here that Viennese football boomed in innumerable kickabouts and neighbourhood contests made all the more important by the use of the same spaces for carousing, drinking and socializing away from the authority of the state and one’s parents.

That nudity is part of football and the history of sport is inescapable. Supporters must realize that, in the bowels of the stadium they inhabit before a game, 22 nude individuals (plus substitutes) prepare to wage a confrontation. Traditions of nude competition at the ancient Olympic Games having been rethought over time, the nude form now only occasionally seeks full presentation in the person of the match streaker: enough of a presence over past decades to have gained plasticine tribute in the table game Subbuteo.

Tunick directed participants in Vienna using a bullhorn. Once posed, they were cautioned against moving or laughing. (Reuters)


  • The photographs taken on 11 May will be on view at the Kunsthalle starting Jun 23. Some 1,800 participants were posed lying down on stadium seats and holding footballs over exposed areas. Nude people were not allowed on the grass.
  • Chilean journalist Consuelo Saavedra credits a Tunick installation in Santiago in Jul 02 with ushering in the start of a domestic destape, described as a “blend of uncovering, untying and liberalizing, all at once” (“Naked in Santiago: A Look at Chilean Media,” ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America 3 [spring 2004]: 16–17). Four thousand—a “happy mass of flesh”—gathered on a frigid Sunday morning nearly 30 years after the national football stadium served as a detention and torture center during the 1973 coup d’état (see Katherine Hite‘s article, “Chile’s National Stadium: As Monument, as Memorial,” in the same ReVista). Tunick, writes Saavedra, likely “could not believe the scene in front of his lens”:
    Neither could millions of Chileans who watched this collective catharsis on television: grannies, couples, children, naked people of all sizes and ages and social classes jumping and hugging each other while shouting “I feel free” and “I have nothing to hide.”

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Sven:

    I participated at this nude event in Vienna. It was an extraordinary happening …

    Funny I found this site.

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