Melbourne Woolies turns down Tunick nudes

Woolworths cartsA Woolworths store in Melbourne has refused permission for international artist Spencer Tunick to use a rooftop car park for his latest mass nude photograph.

Ten thousand potential nudes have signed up to pose for world-renowned photographer Spencer Tunick in Melbourne for the artist’s latest mass-nudity photograph but corporate giant Woolworths, whose car park is in his sights, isn’t sharing his naked ambition.

State leaders aren’t buying into the global artistic disagreement either. The premier and opposition leader both said the decision on the Prahran rooftop car park is up to Woolies, while the state tourism minister sees it as a good opportunity for Victoria.

“Any rooftop in July in Melbourne’s going to be reasonably chilly, I would think, but I’m sure they’ll find an alternative venue,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

State Tourism Minister John Eren could see the benefits, given the views the location offers of the city skyline.

“It is something that goes global and certainly the backdrop would be Melbourne. I’d probably think that Woolworths might reconsider their options,” he told Melbourne radio 3AW.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the company has “got their right to say yes or no.”

New York based Tunick planned to photograph thousands of nude people on the supermarket rooftop because of its special location.

“I believe that this latest spot has something uniquely special about it … it’s otherworldly,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

But the supermarket giant refused as it doesn’t want its customers inconvenienced.

“The request for the photo was for the weekend, which is the busiest time of the week for shopping in our stores, and as such we must ensure customers have convenient access to our store when we are open,” a spokeswoman said. “We are proud supporters of the Prahran community and we also remain supportive of the Chapel Street Precinct Association’s Provocare Festival of the Arts event.”

The event organisers said they had done their research and found the staged nude photograph would have minimal impact on Woolworths customers.

“This decision is ludicrous because Spencer’s installation will be finished by 9am,” Chapel Street Precinct Association’s John Lotton said in a statement. “We have photographic proof that only four cars use the car park at this time on a Saturday – it doesn’t get busy until much later.”

More than 10,000 people have already registered to be a part of the artwork, doubling the crowd of 5000 that posed for Tunick on the Princes Bridge when he last visited Melbourne in 2001.  The artist last visited Australia in 2010, photographing nude people on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. He has also staged photos at New York’s Grand Central Station and United Nations building.

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