Thousands strip naked in Hull for Spencer Tunick photographs | Art and design | The Guardian

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More than 3,000 people in East Yorkshire city were painted with four shades of blue paint before US artist photographed them

People take part in an installation titled Sea of Hull by artist Spencer Tunick in Hull.
People take part in an installation titled Sea of Hull by artist Spencer Tunick in Hull. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Thousands of people have stripped and been painted blue as they starred in a huge installation to celebrate Hull’s relationship with the sea.

Hull city council said 3,200 people took part in the event – the largest of its kind ever to be staged in the UK by New York-based artist Spencer Tunick.

Tunick’s Sea of Hull installation involved participants from 20 countries, including American Stephane Janssen, 80, who has posed for him on 20 previous occasions.

Nude models prepare to pose for a photograph by U.S. artist Spencer Tunick, for a project titled “Sea of Hull”
Nude models prepare to pose for a photograph by US artist Spencer Tunick, for a project titled Sea of Hull Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

The hundreds who gathered at dawn were daubed with four shades of blue body paint in celebration of Hull’s maritime heritage and then posed for a series of site-specific installations around some of the city’s best known historic locations.

These included the former Queen’s Dock, now a city centre park, the Guildhall and the award-winning Scale Lane swing bridge over the river Hull.

Tunick’s latest work has been commissioned by Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery. It will be one of the highlights of the gallery’s programme in 2017, when Hull is UK city of culture.

Models on the Scale Lane swing bridge over the river Hull.
Models on the Scale Lane swing bridge over the river Hull. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

The council said Saturday’s turnout was the largest number of participants taking part in any of Tunick’s previous UK artworks, beating Gateshead in 2005 and Salford in 2010.

Tunick said: “The Sea of Hull installation was one of the most fantastic projects I’ve ever done, and it was inspiring to be able to intertwine the city’s maritime heritage against an urban backdrop throughout the whole piece.

“The photo incorporates some of the city’s unique locations including the architectural steel-structured masterpiece that is Scale Lane bridge, framed by Georgian and Victorian buildings, adding to the striking shots captured during the installation.

“It’s always wonderful to see the various-sized people covered in paint walking through the streets of a city I admire. I’m looking forward to the exhibition of my final works made here in Hull in the spring of 2017.”

Nude models prepare to pose for a photograph.