Nudes at an art show are nothing new. However, the figures baring it all are usually hanging on the walls, not hanging out looking at them. On April 9, the Newcastle Art Gallery, an exhibition space in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, will have a special night when the dress code is more of an undress code, or maybe it would be accurate to describe it as “dress not an option.”
ROSCO, an Australian organization that runs a nudist resort in the land down under, is hosting the event. In an interview with the Newcastle Herald, Toni Marsh, a spokesperson for ROSCO, explained why they chose an art show as the venue for this particular event.
“It goes back a long way. Anywhere in Europe you will find galleries with nude art, and life drawing has always been a part of art.”
Even though the idea of patrons in the buff seems like its own form of performance art, the event is all for a good cause. The proceeds from this event go to the McGrath Foundation, a charitable organization that provides home health nurses to breast cancer patients.
For attendees, this is a chance to experience the comfort they feel when around other nudists in a setting where letting it all hang out is more likely to be a novelty than the norm. Toni Marsh explained their no-clothing policy for the nude art show fundraiser to the Newcastle Star.
“The ROSCO club believes there is nothing shameful about the naked body and the tour is designed for participants to experience the freedom and a different perspective that allows the connection with the environment without the barrier of clothing.”
Marsh, who has been a nudist for nearly 20 years, added that being nude is not only artistic, it’s liberating.
“We experience the freedom of being nude, and you don’t have to worry about adjusting your clothes.”
Social events are a large part of Red Ochre Swimming Club or ROSCO’s reason for being. It was started in 1958 as a family-friendly nude swimming club and eventually expanded to include a resort and wildlife preserve devoted to social nudism, dinner parties, dances, and sporting events. All of the participants and sometimes some of the bands who play for ROSCO are, true to the mission of the club, nude.
Should regular attendees of the gallery be concerned about seeing too much of some of their fellow art lovers at this particular show? Clashes between the nude and the draped are unlikely. The event page for the show, “Art in the Nude,” spells out the terms, so there is relative safety for the unadorned and Newcastle art fan whose sensibilities may be too delicate for so much bare skin in the flesh. Clothing is not an option, but the venue has been booked as a private event, so there is little chance of anyone wandering in for a casual walk through the gallery.
The event page reminds members that not only is nudity not negotiable, so is good behavior. Other assurances for safety and privacy address the need for the advance purchase of tickets, as none will be available at the Newcastle Art Gallery. ROSCO also stresses that there will be no photography other than a single official camera person for the event. Even those who are camera shy will be safe to wander as bare as bears through the halls. Anyone who has no problem being photographed can pick up a wristband that will let the photographer know it’s okay to snap away.
A nude art show in Newcastle? It looks like this particular exhibition will show off the unbedecked and do a few bodies good at the same time.
[Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images]