Naked States (2000) Poster


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Not too shabby
wmnslibr29 August 2002
My partner and I decided to rent this flick when we discovered that Pecker was already out. We were in the mood for a 'light hearted comedy', but ended up with this documentary. Not a bad choice. It was interesting to see the way in which Spencer Tunick chose to express himself--by encouraging others to be free and comfortable with their bodies. If you harbor inadequacies about your own, do not shy away from this, chances are, you will find somebody whose body is worse than yours. And don't worry about the title. It may look like you are renting a soft core, but it's really not much more than tan lines and pubes.
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Artist Spencer Tunick's American odyssey photographing nudes
Peter A. Lake8 April 2001
One of THE most delightful, entertaining and informative films of an artist at work. Spencer Tunick travels to most of the United States to portray people by one's, by ten's, by hundred's in their natural states.

Instead of showing an artist in angst, this film shows the artist at work and reveals the surprisingly happy effect of his efforts on the people he portrays.

As far removed from Hollywood and films about Jackson Pollock and Vincent Van Gogh and Michelangelo as Spencer's vision is from conventional notions about what art does and who it's for.

Starts slow and tentative and builds to a glorious and satisfying ending. Great pacing and direction put this on a straight track to documentary perfection.

Especially surprising was the segment that reveals Spencer's troubles with --and distaste for.......NUDISTS! They're a real pain in the ass to work with.

Nothing in the film draws attention to the making of the film. There's no didacticism here, but by the end of the film I was ready to take off my clothes and find Spencer.

HBO showed it but if they don't show it again, find it and rent it..... the legacy of Woodstock come to small-town America.

Although quiet and unassuming, Spencer's as bold as his subjects when he goes up to total strangers and persuades them to undress for art's sake.

And yes, he's been arrested, but never on a citizen complaint.....just by cops who can't stand the thought of people not wearing clothes in public. Bravo, Spencer!
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A fascinating study of human nature and form
George Parker3 December 2001
"Naked States" documents the photo-art odyssey of a man and his quest to photograph people and places all over America with the centerpiece of each work being the naked human form of ordinary people from individuals to scores. The film looks at the artist and his vision, the people who posed, the poignant beauty of the art, and the attitudes, opinions, and philosophies of ordinary folk regarding this compelling endeavor and artistic adventure. As much a study of human nature as of human form.
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Body of Work by Thomas J. O'Connor
Thomas J. O'Connor20 December 2005
There are moments of undeniable beauty and grace in witnessing some of the transformative tales of those who freely posed nude for photographer Spencer Tunick during his five-month trek across the United States. One man communicates his own epiphany post photo shoot by noticing that being naked doesn't really reveal who a person is - it's the clothes, rather, by which a person defines himself.

In elevating his work above porn, Tunick often photographs the nude in large numbers. Placing the subjects against the background of daily life, amid urban streets or modern architecture, and in glorious black and white, some moving and timeless images have been created. The body of work Tunick has produced through this documented project alone will serve as noteworthy in the timeline of 21st century artisans.

Overlooking pacing and editing, the film (which oftentimes resembles an episode of MTV's "Road Rules") stands as a testament to artistic integrity and persistence of vision.
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Interesting portrait of an artist....or a photographer?
mario10zeus15 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Good documentary where the audience meets Spencer Tunick who asks people to pose nude for him in public areas. While some would say that most photographers of nudes are pervs, Tunick comes across as a serious artist even if not everyone would consider his work art. Tunick sees beauty in the different shapes and colors which the human bodies form in his pictures. While it may be argued that he didn't create the human body nor the backgrounds, he does manage to fuse them and convert them into an object of beauty. Some pictures do look plain as in, oh! a naked person in front of a church. Still other impress a lot, as in the picture of participants at Burning Man. For many people, Tunick doesn't provide art but experience. Participants decribe taking off their clothes in public as exhilarating and amazing. While Tunick's art is interesting, the man himself comes off at different times as shallow, clueless, annoying, diva-like (some people say he should come out of the closet) and arrogant. When describing his art, his vocabulary resembles someone on Quaalude. The interviews with the participants and their reasons for posing as opposed to Tunick speaking, are excellent.
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Here is the Naked Truth
ironhorse_iv29 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It's wasn't that good of a documentary and I tell you why. The movie is supposed to a humorous movie of one artist's risky controversial art work, as he travels across America and takes photographs of nude Americans. The movie is supposed to expose America's current attitude towards nudity and how we shouldn't be ashamed of it. The movie makes America seek like the backward pre-Sexual Revolution's state of union, where all ordinary citizens are closed-minded about nudity as if we were still Puritans. Believing that taking one's clothes off in public is somehow avante garde is merely a reflection of just how naïve pseudo-intellectuals like artist Spencer Tunick are. It's clear that artist like him, don't know America and its general population's attitude towards sex. Pornography, art or no art has entered the mainstream and cannot easily be separated from the rest of entertainment. It's not always the fact that they are still religionists, or close-minded. They might just be sick of it. The mainstream media is full of nearly naked body forms, and sex is still continue to sell anything from watches to the latest video game. No matter if you call it art or porn. It's both. While, the movie is supposed to be a no peep show for sexual gratification: as the nude are supposed to though provocative works of art. There will always be sexual tension to nudity. As some people will view it, in disgust. Others will look at it as art. While others will look at something to masturbate to. Anybody who doesn't think there is a bit of eroticism in this film, need to re-watched it. Not all his photos are desexualised. During the documentary we met and talk to several of his models, one obese lady is having a very moving personal moment about how being a model was a pleasing experience and how worthy she felt in her heart and mind. The response in most cases was the same, it gave them a feeling of new found freedom. One has to feel sorry for the confused individuals who actually buy the idea that stripping is liberating. It certainly would be if you're an exhibitionist, but for the average person it is merely a sign of a pathetic longing for attention. By exposing your private parts, doesn't give your freedom, but the lack of freedom because your body is being use to sell books and movies. You're a sheep, a slave, an pawn to Spencer Tunick. The people that expose themselves, act like Spencer is the Messiah to all their faults. It's scary to watch. Don't get me wrong, Spencer Tunick's work is artsy, but behind the whole free-spirited hippie view of nudity, there is a sinister reason why Spencer Tunick does this: sex sells. Why else is he allowing this DVD to be sold to the public? He's also publishing nude books for money. He's clearly doing it for the money. Do you really believe that he does this for "art for art's sake". If he did, he would be living on a street corner, poor peeping tom sex-offender bum climbing on trees looking at windows. Anybody who doesn't think he isn't, is in a state of denial. Where does his money come from? Spencer Tunick is such an arrogant jerk that not once, as I am to believe did he ever pose nude himself. Tunick also comes over as selfish, rude, pushy and full of his own sense of self-importance. He loves the media and he acts up for the camera, seemingly overjoyed at the chance to talk argue with police on camera or anybody against his views. I hate the fact, he does pay the models for their sacrifices while making money off their nude bodies. He became overexposure as a gimmick artist that his art work has really die down. He's pretty much known as the 'Messiah of the Nudes'. Some of the photographs are quite good. As an amateur photographer, I found the color, and their beautiful surroundings interesting, and the black and white final photographs of them to be a fascinating contrast. Others photos are bit trite and far too cute and gimmicky. What is so interesting about a naked very pregnant white woman standing with a poor black man, fully clothed, beside his grocery cart full of cans? I'm still looking for the meaning to that. And why does a rape victim need to let me see her naked? She tells the documentary maker that doing these shots was great therapy for her. I champion her passion, but not everyone's lives have to be made public. This movie is clearly not for everybody. Seeing a body after force rape is chilling and knowing that photo will get sold is just makes it feel awful worst. It's like selling your body. Seeing all those naked bodies lying around as if they were dead struck me as rather bizarre, and I had to turn it off for a few minutes, as it remind me of old videos of the piles of Holocaust victims. Spencer Tunick clearly has an idea of what the images should look like, but even as they're being constructed in front of the documentary camera it's difficult to see his vision. It's so camcorder gritty. I don't like the fact, that some public places are use like Time Squares, where young children can see these live nude acts. I don't think it's healthy for them just yet. Great insight into Burning Man, I have to say. I really can't believe this is Rated R and not NC-17 due to the large amount of nudity. Overalls, it's a movie that debates sexuality in the arts, but it's reap the rewards over the premise of average folks posing nude. I just can't find myself, liking that.
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Let's get naked
tieman6410 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by Arlene Nelson, "Naked States" is a documentary centering on the work and work methods of artist Spencer Tunick. Much of the film watches as Tunick travels across the United States in search of volunteers. He points a camera, they pose nude. Some of the resulting photographs involve large, thousand-strong crowds, others are more intimate, featuring but one or two people.

Nelson's documentary dwells on several of Tunick's photographs. Most of these find Tunick forging shapes and structures out of naked crowds, creating living landscapes out of flesh, or clashing human bodies with jagged buildings, social spaces and architecture. Whilst Tunick is often attacked by puritanical folk, his photos are all desexualised. And his characters seem more anonymous, more private, more mysterious than their outer nakedness would suggest; clothes reveal personality, removing clothes oft brings about a certain anonymity.

Tunick's nudes also suggest something beyond class distinctions, beyond social and ethnic barriers. His crowd shots tend to turn naked bodies into undulating seas of skin, whilst his smaller photographs use solitary, nude bodies to evoke very specific emotions. One great photograph, seen toward the end of "Naked States", features an obese woman perched at the ocean's edge, her copious folds of flesh positioned beneath the phallic pistons of the World Trade Centre towers, which loom, almost judgmentally, over her private mysteries.

Today many critics view Tunick as a washed up parody of himself. Like Anne Geddes and her countless photographs of babies/toddlers, Tunick's now become associated with a very specific "gimmick". These days he seems obsessed with photographing increasingly larger nude crowds, often in front of famous big city landmarks. Has his work now been reduced to kitsch? Maybe, maybe not. One would have to sit down and view much more of his work before making such a judgement.

One of the more interesting aspects of "Naked States" is how Tunick's acts of staging photographs are themselves a kind of performance art, independent - and wholly different in terms of mood, intention and content - of the final photo. Elsewhere the film contrasts the vast planning and logistical hurdles required for some of Tunick's shoots, with his soft-spoken, meek personality. He's an unassuming man, but is nevertheless able to command, mobilise and inspire battalions of people.

8/10 – Worth one viewing.
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Everyone should pose for Spencer sometime!
Dario Western17 October 2009
This film was screened on SBS in Australia a few years ago, a country which had provided him with the largest turnout for his installation up to that time (in Melbourne). Spencer Tunick is indeed a talented photographer and a renaissance man in the sense that he is constantly helping people to re-assess the world and the way that they see themselves by posing nude in public. From the installation in Madison Square right through to the zig-zag line at Burning Man, this film is a joy to watch as people who are initially shy and frightened of posing for him morph into brash and confident individuals afterward. They've been there and done that and don't need to try and prove themselves to anyone anymore. I also manage Spencer's Yahoo! group which has some interesting discussions so you can share your insight on that too if you wish. He hasn't come to my town yet, but I will be one of the first to pose for him if/when he decides to.
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