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Artist to fill Mexico City's Zocalo with nudes

U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick prepares a photo session with hundreds of naked volunteers at San Sebastian's Kursaal auditorium April 22, 2006 file photo. Tunick will fill Mexico City's Zocalo square -- the center of the ancient Aztec empire and the heart of modern Mexico -- with thousands of naked Mexicans next week for his latest mass nude photo shoot. REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - U.S. artist Spencer Tunick will fill Mexico City’s Zocalo square -- the center of the ancient Aztec empire and the heart of modern Mexico -- with thousands of naked Mexicans next week for his latest mass nude photo shoot.

Tunick, who was refused permission to stage his nude photo at Mexico’s famed Teotihuacan pyramids outside the capital, has been granted permission to use the Zocalo for his shoot next Sunday, local media reported on Sunday.

The Mexico City government was not available for comment.

One of the world’s biggest and most imposing squares, the Zocalo is framed by the city cathedral, City Hall and the Diego Rivera mural-adorned National Palace and dominated by a huge flagpole flying the red, white and green national flag.

A ruined temple underneath it was once used for Aztec worship and human sacrifice, and Spanish conquistadors used bricks from the temple to help build their own capital.

Tunick has raised eyebrows by staging mass nude photo shoots in cities from Dusseldorf, Germany, to Caracas. Participants often lie down to create an image resembling a sea of multihued flesh.

Organizers hope the Mexico City event might top his record of 7,000 naked people photographed in Barcelona in 2003.

Now used for protest rallies or rock concerts, the Zocalo can hold at least 150,000 people standing up.

Mexicans generally tend to be bashful about nudity, and nude or topless beaches are rare. But in the more liberal capital, participants in protests often march wearing nothing but their underpants.

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