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June 7, 2001 Stripping for artist Spencer Tunick



An estimated 2,500 Montrealers answered the call for nude models from New York artist Spencer Tunick, who specializes in large-format photos of naked bodies, and one of them belonged to Computer Science Professor Peter Grogono.

Grogono, exhilarated by the experience, wrote an account for his Web site. Here are some excerpts:

“Tunick had told us to be there by 5 a.m., but by 4:30, the lobby of the contemporary art museum was already jammed with people signing forms. The sky lightened and it started to rain. A few ran for cover, but most waiting for the rain to stop. It did stop, and the man himself—Spencer Tunick—appeared to cheers and applause. He thanked us for coming and told us what to do. Finally, he said, ‘Let’s go,’ or something like that. I am not quite sure because everyone was cheering madly.

“We stood up and took all our clothes off. The ordinary spectacle of a crowd in Montreal, so familiar from jazz festivals and similar events, morphed into an ocean of bare skin. In our naked glory, we were herded by Tunick’s helper John onto a short section of St. Catherine St. At a word from Tunick, we all fell down onto the damp, hard asphalt.

“The view from ground level was not one that most of us are accustomed to. One realized that people had tattoos and jewelry in odd places, and although it was not particularly cold, the bottom a few inches from my nose had distinct goosebumps.

“Lying naked on cold concrete at 6 in the morning is not particularly sexy; at least, I didn’t find it so. After a few minutes, it even gets a little uncomfortable. Voyeurs would probably be disappointed, because the actual spectacle of acres of skin does not match the imagination.

“So what are we all doing here? I am having fun. A lot of fun. With a lot of wonderful, happy, uninhibited people.

“Tunick had advised us to note where we had left our clothes. I carefully placed mine 10 feet due east of a traffic light with my Concordia University sweatshirt on top for easy identification. I returned to the traffic light to find. . . no clothes. Panic. Calm down. Oops, wrong traffic light.

“In these grim days of globalization, deficit reduction, job cuts and environmental destruction, we need a few happy and joyous events to keep us sane. A city where a thousand people can dance naked in the street is a city worth living in.”

For a full account of Peter Grogono’s experience, visit