Spencer Tunick's Naked Art Draws Love Down Under, Arrests in America

(AP Photo)
SYDNEY (CBS/AP) - When Spencer Tunick tried to photograph naked people in New York, he got arrested at least five times for his efforts. City officials even took him to the United States Supreme Court to stop him. But the artist got nothing but appreciation in Sydney this weekend when he assembled more than 5000 people in front of the city's opera house for a shoot.

Photo: Sydney Opera House, March 1, 2010.
Say Cheese!

Tunic has made a name for himself with his works featuring hundreds of naked people at unusual venues, even as his passion for the controversial subject matter has gotten him arrested back in the States.

Photo: Spencer Tunick's naked subjects prepare in downtown Caracas, Venezuela, March 19, 2006.

"It was difficult to get the straight participants to embrace the gay participants and vice versa," Tunick said of the Australia shoot, where police made no arrests.

"So I was very happy that that last set up finally got done and everyone came together (in a) united, friendly kiss, a loving kiss in front of this great structure."

Tunick, who is shy and adheres to mostly black dress, prefers to be called an artist, not a photographer and refers to his work as installations.

Art Rush, a 19-year-old student, said he was thrilled to participate.

"I'll never get a chance to do this again; it's not worth being inhibited," Rush said. "It doesn't feel sexual, it just feels tribal, a gathering of humanity."

Tunick posed participants for more than an hour in a variety of positions. Before touring the world with his camera, he persuaded Americans in all 50 states to pose nude in public.

The New York criminal charges were dropped in each case. A federal appeals court said that Tunick has a First Amendment right to take the nude photos.

Australia agrees.