Art in the nude

There’s a lot of classical and modern art, of course, that involves nudes, but how often does the museum or gallery visitor get to go nude?

Go nude for the naked truth at Vienna museum

Vienna’s Leopold Museum has invited the public to come in the nude on Friday to view an exhibition of erotic works by Austrian masters such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, that was one day only, July 29, 2005 — and you had to be in Vienna (not such a bad thing, actually).

The exhibition, titled The Naked Truth: Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka and Other Scandals, showcases nude portraits by Austrian artists that scandalised the country at the turn of the century and have in many cases retained their shock value.

Vienna museum opens to nudes beating the heat

Vienna’s Leopold Museum offered free entry on Friday to anybody who came in swimsuits or naked, in response to a summer heat wave with temperatures in the 30s (90s Fahrenheit).

The museum said about 300 women and men in bikinis or bathing trunks, and 10 in their birthday suits, showed up as of midday to tour the exhibit.

Museum to Let Naked People in Free

Most of those who showed up in little or no attire Friday opted for swimsuits, but a few hardy souls dared to bare more. Among them was Bettina Huth of Stuttgart, Germany, who roamed the exhibition wearing only sandals and a black bikini bottom.

Although she used a program at one point to shield herself from a phalanx of TV cameras, Huth, 52, said she didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

“I go into the steam bath every week, so I’m used to being naked,” she said. “I think there’s a double morality, especially in America. We lived in California for two years, and I found it strange that my children had to cover themselves up at the beach when they were only 3 or 4 years old. That’s ridiculous.”

Also: here [link still valid!], here

Of course, we always get ticked off when something or other having to do with nudity is titled the “Naked Truth”, but we can put up with little problems like that in this case.

Originally published August 22, 2005

Tib Street streaker of Manchester

Sorry, this isn’t exactly new news… I’m still getting caught up.

The mystery streaker of Tib Street
is, as the Manchester (UK) Evening News wrote about her on July 18…

she’s shown everyone a clean pair of heels – and a lot more besides.

A woman wearing nothing but a pair of trainers and a scorpion tattoo has run down Tib Street in Manchester City Centre at the same time for the last three Fridays.

Of course, had this occurred in most U. S. cities, the “mystery streaker” would have provoked howls of protest and galvanized SWAT teams into action from miles around to put down this terrorist menace. (In the states, if you run unclothed through the streets brandishing an assault rifle there will be a great hue and cry: “Stop him — he’s naked!” And you may rest assured that the NRA will quickly spring to your defense.)

But since this happened in the somewhat more civilized society of Britain,

“It’s all very light-hearted with people laughing and joking,” [one onlooker] said.

“People seem pleased to see her, I don’t think anyone is offended. Tib Street must be the place to be. I’d like to see a lot more of it myself!”

Just good, clean fun. The news stories do not report than any children who saw the streaker turned to stone, spontaneously combusted, suffered from PTSD, or caught some nasty STD. (As would surely have happened in the U. S.)

(A shorter account may be found here.)

But of course, as soon as anything good becomes common knowledge, the laws of karma and human nature dictate it cannot continue. Immediately following publication of the story, the streaker herself owned up to the deed.

I never thought it would get this much attention. I felt so helpless after the London bombings and I just wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces.

There has been nothing else in the papers or on TV recently. I’m a mother and I was thinking of all the mothers who might have lost someone and this was my way of expressing my freedom.

is how Andrea Hall, a 29-year-old mother of 3 children explained her outrageous behavior. It turns out Andrea went for her first streak the day after the London bombings of July 7, apparently to provide a bit of good cheer in a difficult time. She repeated the performance on the following Friday (July 15), but that was the end — no third time as the earlier stories claimed. (Reminding us once again how unreliable any press report can be.)

I think I would only do it again if it was sponsored for charity. It has been a laugh and it has cheered people up.

The funniest comment I’ve probably had is when somebody shouted I was running the wrong way as Tib Street is one way only now.

is Andrea’s conclusion.

Our conclusion? It all goes to show how people around the world are different. The UK isn’t perfect either. While a naked streaker in the U. S. will predictably bring out the minions of morality, in the UK your life is at grave risk if you happen to wear a heavy coat in public in the heat of the summer.

Originally published August 21, 2005

World Naked Gardening Day – September 10, 2005

Get ready for the inaugural World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD)! People across the globe are encouraged, on September 10, 2005, to tend their portion of the world’s garden clothed as nature intended.

Gardening has a timeless quality, and anyone can do it: young and old, singles or groups, the fit and infirm, urban and rural. An elderly lady in a Manhattan apartment can plant new annuals in her window box. Families can rake leaves in their backyard. Freehikers can pull invasive weeds along their favorite stretch of trail. More daring groups can make rapid clothes-free sorties into public parks to do community-friendly stealth cleanups.

Why garden naked? First of all, it’s fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude. Moreover, our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment. Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us–even if only for those few sunkissed minutes–that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet.

Sounds like a really great idea, no? Read more about it here.

Better yet — get involved! There’s a Yahoo! Group where you can discuss plans with others.

Originally published August 17, 2005

Steve and Melanie’s naked walk

Seems to be going extremely well. In contrast to the first walk that Steve Gough engaged in two years ago, there have been no ugly incidents of official harassment or thuggish assault.

Steve and Mel are being joined (for short periods of time) by other British naturists. Among them has been another nude-rights activist, Jeffrey Woodhouse, who has placed some of his pictures from the walk on his Web site. Note especially the picture in the middle of the page, showing Steve and Mel emerging from a store during a brief stop to purchase a few supplies. Such shopping excursions seem to have been routine and haven’t caused problems for anyone concerned. We should all be so lucky.

The rest of Jeff’s site, called Natural Freedom is well worth reading. He explains naturism and naturist activism very well, but we’ll have to leave a more complete review for another day.

Originally published July 16, 2005


Canuding simply means canoeing without being burdened with clothing. It’s a popular form of nude outdoor recreation.

We just came across this interesting account of canuding in Canada, although it’s several years old. It’s a report by a Buffalo (NY) naturist about a canuding trip that seven adults and three children enjoyed for five days in 2001 on several lakes in Canada.

One of the most charming details of the story is how well the nude people were received by clothed people they met. Near the end of the trip, the naturists disembarked on a floating dock and were actually welcomed by the folks there. Eventually

there was a mix of nude people and people with suits on, all having a grand time… Then a small boat pulls in loaded with more kids. Four girls and two boys. Two of the girls were the younger daughters we had met the night before and the rest were neighbors. They joined in swimming and one of them took our kids out in a 3 seater paddle wheel boat, to trip between the barge and the tower. The barge btw had a motor on it and was able to go out on the lake… It had a picnic table, umbrella, grill for cooking and was made for partying away from shore.

Now we have our six adults and three kids nude and semi-nude mixing and having a great time with 6 girls and 3 boys ages 6 to 17 with suits on…

Other parts of this naturist’s site are well worth reading too. From here you can find stories about canuding the Weeki Wachee in Florida, being topfree on a main street in West Palm Beach, FL, and topfree at a bus depot in Toronto, Ontario.

For more on canuding, have a look at the Yahoo discussion group for nude canoeists and the Web site of the Paddling Bares Canoe Club based in New Jersey.

Originally published July 16, 2005

Portland 2005 WNBR report

The WNBR contingent in Portland, OR, seems to have been the world’s second largest (after London) — 169 strong, according to this report:

“23 minutes we ride! Clothes off!”

After the midnight count-down to pants down, the 90 people at the dance met another slew of naked people in the street all waiting for the moment of truth. Clothes were stuffed into saddlebags, body paint was slapped on. The one toddler, who was not naked, but well bundled up against the chilly night winds, was strapped onto his seat and into his helmet. Not everyone was naked, but everyone was sexy!.”

The figure of 169 riders mentioned later in the report represents folks who joined after the start. But that’s not all — a number of spectators apparently joined in the fun also:

I saw a few not-so-innocent bystanders swinging their own clothes and personal fetters around their heads in support.

Sounds like a good time was had by all.

Here’s a handful of photos documenting the fun.

Originally published July 16, 2005

New publisher of books on nudity

Great idea, eh?

Heureka Productions is now publishing three books on nudity:

  • Harvey – The Spirit of Lady Godiva
  • Jim Woycke – Au Naturel: The History of Nudism in Canada
  • Mark Storey, ed. – Theatre Au Naturel: A Collection of Naturist Plays

Harvey’s (he has a last name but doesn’t use it) book consists of striking photos of naked people in public places around North America. The pictures were staged and taken in a hit-and-run fashion, but you’d never know it from looking at them. They show what could be, if our culture ever came around to a sensible attitude towards nudity.

Each play in the collection of naturist plays features nudity in some way or other. The collection includes Tom Cushing’s classic nudist play “Barely Proper”. There are also some new plays from the “Nude Beach Trilogy”, which were performed at the Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival in 2003.

All the plays are short — the whole book is only 133 pages. Any naturist group might want to perform some of the plays for their own entertainment. It would be even more interesting if some of the plays were picked up by experimental or academic theater groups that really want to incite and inspire their audiences to “think different”.

Each of the books can be ordered directly from Heureka, or from Amazon.

Originally published July 8, 2005

Follow-up: 600 naked PETA protesters in Pamplona!

Back on June 19 we wrote that this was coming up:

Animal campaigners go nude to protest Pamplona bull run

PAMPLONA, Spain (AFP) – Some 600 animal-rights campaigners, all in the nude, brought the northern Spanish city of Pamplona to a virtual standstill as they protested against the nine-day running of the bulls festival.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organized a nude run to highlight the group’s opposition to the “cruelty” of the traditional festival, starting Wednesday, which sees dozens of bulls stampede through the streets after revelers who try to outrun them.

“There were 600 of us. We got our kit off,” run coordinator Shaun Gifford told AFP.

“Four years ago when we first tried it, it was just 20 brave souls taking on the whole bullfighting scene.”

600 naked people protesting! Yow. Sounds like fun. Wish I’d been there. Don’t you?

Visit the Running of the Nudes Web site for additional information, pictures, and video.

Originally published July 6, 2005

UK garden welcomes nude visitors

Come into the garden, Maud (but leave your kit behind)

Coach loads of naturists were last night getting ready to flock to a Wiltshire garden to enjoy its first ever nudist day next month. Hundreds of the enthusiasts will head for Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury for its inaugural ‘Clothes Optional Day’.

The historic gardens, which welcome tens of thousands of visitors every summer, are home to ‘Naked Gardeners’ Ian and Barbara Pollard.

The couple often prune and plant in the altogether, but don a minimum of clothes while the gardens are open to the public.

But now, for the first time, they are opening their gardens for one day to anyone who wants to shed their inhibitions and their clothes and tour the five-acre site.

Read the full story.

Originally published July 6, 2005

Everybody loves a parade

But what if people in the parade are “parading around naked”?

If Seattle’s Fremont Solstice Parade is any indication, people love the parade just as much, perhaps even more. This year’s version of the annual event took place Saturday, June 18. (Today, June 21, after all, is the actual date of the Summer Solstice, which ought to be a national holiday, if the U. S. had any sense). These these photos will give you some idea what the parade was like, in case you weren’t so fortunate as to be able to attend.

Naked and mostly colorfully painted cyclists have been a favorite part of the parade for a number of years. Others choose to parade in fanciful costumes, such as this pink penis.

When will people in other parts of the country, such as stuffy Middletown, CT, be able to have this much fun? Probably not for a long time.

Seattle seems to be more receptive than average to clothes-free fun. You’ll recall that the city had one of the largest contingents for the WNBR just last week. A significant reason for Seattle’s nude tolerance could be organizations of local activists, such as the Seattle-based Body Freedom Collaborative.

Originally published June 21, 2005