Artist gets hundreds to pose naked next to Dead Sea

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More than 200 people covered in only white body paint posed for American artist Spencer Tunick in a desert in southern Israel to raise awareness of the deteriorating condition of the Dead Sea.

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Volunteers aged 18 to 70 lined up in rows of 10 in the desert near the Dead Sea on Sunday and waited for instructions from the artist, who sat on a ladder with a megaphone and a camera.

Volunteers, both men and women, stood barefoot on brown hills overlooking the sea. Mr Tunick said he chose to cover the model in white to highlight the biblical story of Lot’s wife, who had reportedly turned into a pillar of salt.


The project was a part of an initiative to support the establishment of the planned Dead Sea Museum in the city of Arad, Israel.

It was the 54-year-old photographer’s third nude art project on the world’s saltiest water shore. During her first project in 2011, she portrayed 1,200 people, while in 2016 only 15 people modeled for her.

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“People are afraid of naked people,” said Mr. Tunick. Jerusalem Post newspaper during a tour of the city last week to talk about his new project. “I hope that this project will represent the body as an agent of change that will address the environmental problems of the Dead Sea region,” he said.

The artist was the guest of the country’s Ministry of Tourism and his expenses, including the artwork, were borne by the government.

Addressing the media ahead of the shooting on Sunday, the artist said he was in Israel to draw attention to the virtual Dead Sea Museum, which he hoped would become “a real museum in Arad” one day.

“The Dead Sea is an important eighth wonder of the world,” he was quoted by Times of Israel The newspaper is saying

While the project was criticized by the country’s conservative leaders, who called on the government to withdraw its sponsorship for an “incident of mass hatred”, Arad Mayor Nisan Ben Hamo said that Mr. Spencer’s presence was the only reason for him. was a “gift”.

The Dead Sea is located between Israel and Jordan. The sea has gone down about four feet each year, creating thousands of sinkholes. In the last three decades, the sea level has dropped by about 100 feet.

The Jordan River, its primary water source, is diverted for agriculture and other uses by Israel, Jordan and Syria. In the early 2000s, environmentalists predicted that the Dead Sea would disappear by 2050 if its water level continued to fall.

For Mr. Spencer’s first installation, his subjects – covered with mud from the sea – are located on a mineral beach located in the northern part of the Dead Sea.

The increasing number of sinkholes in the water body became the subject of Mr Tunick’s second project in 2016.

Although there was a glimmer of hope to revive the dying sea with a $1.5 billion joint project with the Palestinian authorities, this year Jordan scrapped it after a diplomatic dispute.

Its purpose was to build a desalination facility in Jordan and link the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.


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