If touring an art gallery in the nude with fellow naked art aficionados is your idea of a fun day out, or facing your fear of being naked in public is on your to-do list, then Melbourne, Australia based artist Stuart Ringholt is the man to know.
Ringholt, a performance and Conceptual artist, has been conducting nude tours of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) as part of his performance work titled Preceded by a tour of the show by artist Stuart Ringholt, 6-8pm (the artist will be naked. Those who wish to join the tour must also be naked. Adults only).
Presented as part of the MCA’s refurbishment program, Ringholt’s performance piece deals with themes of fear and embarrassment while at the same time giving a select few participants the opportunity to gain a new perspective on the current MCA exhibitions by viewing them entirely nude. Occurring outside of the Museum’s opening hours, these tours gave museumgoers the rare opportunity to (literally) remove the material barriers between artist and audience.
In an interview with Time Out Australia, Ringholt explained that:
“I like my work to be pragmatic and practical and it has to benefit my life personally. But an arts writer once asked how it benefits other peoples’ lives and that’s when I started to do the embarrassment workshops. I also ran some anger workshops for the 2008 Sydney Biennale and I thought it would be wonderful if we did it again without any clothes. That’s where this came from.”
This is not the first time that Perth born Ringholt has placed himself and others in potentially uncomfortable situations. Ringholt has produced several works that explore personal and social themes such as fear and embarrassment which are often represented through absurd situations or amateur self-help environments.
In For Conceptual Art Improved My Embarrassing Life, 2003, Ringholt performed a number of actions in the public realm each of which was intended to cause self-embarrassment. The actions included having toilet paper stuck to the rear-end of his pants, walking around with snot in his beard and chewing a pen until the ink went all over his face in a train compartment
Following his embarrassing experiences, Ringholt decided to organise Funny Fear Workshop (2004) in which attempted to teach a group of people how to relieve their sense of embarrassment. After narrating personal experiences such as "pissing all over a household toilet because a hair had stuck itself over the eye of my dick," Ringbolt sent the participants into the public with the task of embarrassing themselves.)
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