Hundreds strip naked in Vienna for artist Tunick

VIENNA (Reuters) - About 1,800 people stripped naked on Sunday for U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick at the stadium that will host the Euro 2008 soccer final.

photographer Spencer Tunick gestures during a news conference in Vienna May 7, 2008. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer

Tunick, who regularly stages such mass nude events, arranged his subjects in the colored seats of the venue, having been told by organizers the grass was too precious.

“It will be fun. Austria is very conservative. This might bring more openness,” said Michael, a 20-year-old Austrian who drove for two hours to take part. Others came from Germany and elsewhere.

Tunick spoke to his models over the public address system, telling the men and women to spread out in sections of the stands and strike different poses. He told them not to smile or laugh and to remove sunglasses.

The stadium stages seven matches of the Euro 2008 soccer championship, being jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria next month, including the final on June 29.

“This very special ephemeral installation that we are inviting you to be part of is devised to capture and combine the spirit of sports, the grand sweeping waves of stadium architecture and the abstract relation of the human form to modern structures,” Tunick said on his website.

One of Tunick’s latest stunts was on a Swiss glacier, where 600 people stripped off in temperatures of about 10 Celsius (50 F) last August.

His biggest was last year in Mexico City with 18,000 people. The next after Vienna are planned for Cork, Ireland, on June 17 and Dublin on June 21.

Sponsors of Tunick’s latest event included a body promoting the soccer festival and Austrian railways, which gave participants free tickets.

Those taking part were volunteers who were offered a limited edition copy of the photo.

Tunick told a news conference in Vienna last week that rules in the United States made it hard to organize his photo shoots there. “My work is a little edgy. It is tough for me to get permission to do things in the U.S.,” he said.

Editing by Charles Dick