National Gallery of Art in Canberra Offers Naked Tours of James Turrell’s Artwork

James Turrell, Virtuality squared (2014). Photo: National Gallery of Australia

Thanks to artist Stuart Ringholt, you can take a guided tour of James Turrell‘s retrospective at the National Gallery of Art in Canberra. Sans clothes, that is.

Beginning in April, Ringholt will be leading three 50-person, in-the-buff museum tours—all of which sold out in just one day. Looks like institutions are seeking out new ways to entertain visitors (see Gay Art Tours at the Vatican Are All the Rage).

According to the Huffington Post, who spoke with Ringholt about the project, this isn’t the first time he’s gotten naked with art lovers (or gotten art lovers naked, rather). He’s led several nudist art tours around Australia, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Ringholt believes that Turrell’s use of color, light, and space makes his art perfect for being viewed without clothing. “Naked, our whole body experiences color,” he said. “Nudity frees the spirit…It is educational. Education through feeling.”

Interestingly, it was the museum who approached him about giving the tours, on a suggestion from the artist himself. After a nude audience experienced one of his “Perceptual Cells” in Japan, Turrell became interested in having more nudists view his work.

However, other than the audience in Japan, who only visited the cell, Ringholt’s groups will be the first to experience Turrell’s artwork in this way.

“To my knowledge a nude audience hasn’t been fully tested on Turrell,” he said. “I am looking forward to the experience of his Ganzfeld room “Virtuality Squared” and viewing the audience under the affects of the changing light conditions.”

Interested in partaking in a clothing-free art romp of your own? Tours of various exhibits have been offered at both the Leopold Museum in Austria and the El Segundo Museum of Art in California. Ringholt also teased his dream venue for a tour: the Natural History Museum in New York.

“I’d also love to do a talk on jewelry at the Met with the opportunity for participants to wear it,” he said. “A “take it off, put it on” experience.” Now that’s something we can get on board with.

For a less scandalous but equally fun museum tour experience, check out Museum Hack (see Museum Hack: Making Museum Tours Entertaining, Even Sexy) and robot tours (see Robots Give Nighttime Tours at Tate).


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