Nude in Public: A Photographic Survey [NSFW]

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If an army of fully stripped people galloped down our street right now, we’d probably think, “Oh, that Spencer Tunick is at it again!” So what does it take to liven up this photography genre? Contemporary photography like Miru Kim’s nude jaunts has become iconic, but how many nighttime rooftops and decaying buildings does a girl have to climb to make a statement?

The newest photographer to join these ranks is Erica Simone whose series Nue York at Damon Dash’s New York City gallery opens next month. Let’s take a survey of the contemporary risk takers whose work toes the line between exhibitionism and fine art and how they evolve and stand out. Grab a jacket. It might get a little nippy.

Erica Simone shovels in Snowed on 4th Street. Her self-shot Nue York series — which never got her arrested, thanks to speed and guts — also features the photographer jogging on the West Side Highway, getting a haircut at a Little Italy barber shop, and browsing books in the NYU library. All nude. All casual. Except for the remote shutter operated camera. And the nudity.

Bronx-based photographer Shane Perez is a sometime merry trespasser with the SleepyCity crew, documenting their “adventures in the secret tunnels, rancid Victorian sewers, subways, bridges, and abandoned places of our environment.” He just happens to bring his model friends along. Seen here, the High Line Park in its past life as derelict elevated metro tracks look positively post-apocalyptic.

Miru Kim’s definitive Naked Spleen series makes her one of the most easily recognizable photogs of the genre. But after posing in New York’s boat graveyards and Seoul’s demolition zones, what’s next?

Miru Kim’s new series The Pig That Therefore I Am ups the ante. For this treatise on skin, species and physiology, the photographer went from scaling perilous bridge wire to thrusting herself into a dense pig pen. Talk about artistic risk!

Like Miru Kim, young Parisian Ruben Brulat photographs himself in abandoned places. He’s also very lonely, a speck of a nude amidst expansive highway foliage and icy landscapes. Kudos on the composition.

Photographer Zach Hyman made headlines when his model was arrested for sprinting naked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, perhaps to his benefit. The provocateur notoriously invaded the streets of Chinatown and public subway cars. So, how does he keep things fresh?

This Zach Hyman photograph appears to be have been taken at a desert military base. That works!

When artist Josephine Decker crashed the last day of Marina Abramović’s performance The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art, she was immediately whisked away from the atrium by security, and this image was screen-grabbed by Dimitri Chrysanthopoulos and became an art blog meme. Abramović wasn’t happy with this outburst of public nudity either, despite the troop of nude artists re-performing her work a few floors above.

Voina or “War” is Russia’s most radical performance art group, recently world famous for their giant phallic protest graffiti of a draw bridge in St. Petersburg and for getting bailed out by Banksy himself after being imprisoned for three months for a different action. Photographs like this play an essential part to their viral fame. This particular unauthorized performance at a State Museum of Biology made a statement on Russia’s population problem. It was pretty… extreme.

Of course, Spencer Tunick can do whatever he wants, sprawling nude bodies everyplace. His main resources? People and fame.

Erykah Badu can’t get naked in the street because she’s not Spencer Tunick. The songstress got into a lot of hot water after stripping down in public for the music video for “Window Seat”, which she co-directed. A small fine and six months probation finally settled it.

Ryan McGinley’s signature naked frolicking cool kids are always in style, apparently.

Did we miss anyone?