Skinny-dipping in the void: the day I toured James Turrell’s art show naked
Bodily modesty has always struck me as the most stupid of human hang-ups. In June, my editor asked me to participate in a mass nude swim as a bitingly cold solstice dawn broke over Tasmania’s Long beach. Which makes this the second naked story I’ve been assigned on the job. For Law, this is the third time an editor has requested he strip off. I suspect the Australian media establishment has a secret Asian fetish.
Before we reach Turrell’s retrospective we have to walk through the main halls of the gallery, a surreal experience in itself. There is something naughty – in a childish sense – about tiptoeing through such a grandiose institution, past the Sidney Nolans and the Aboriginal Memorial, with so many boobs and dicks swinging around like pendulums.
John Cocks, participant and president of the ACT Nudist Club, (yes, that’s his real name) explains to me the difference between exhibitionism and nudism. “An exhibitionist is someone who gets excited about being naked in front of somebody else or having themselves seen naked by somebody else,” he says. “There’s a titillation aspect to it. For a nudist, being nude means you can relax – you accept people as they are. I just like to be free.”
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Curator’s note : These are the kinds of experiences and events that I beleive will normalize clothes free life.