I saw 1,000 naked people at The Lowry (pictured above) in Manchester on Sunday. Well, I saw photos of them at least. In honor of the tenth anniversary of The Lowry, New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick came over to Manchester and convinced 1,000 locals to pose in the buff. The "Everyday People" exhibit runs through September 26, and it’s best viewed right after the "L. S. Lowry Favourites" exhibit, as Tunick used this Manchester artist’s gritty work as his inspiration.
Over the course of two days in May, Tunick caravanned his subjects around the city in two buses and took pictures of them in large groups. Locations included Manchester’s canals, a carwash and Salford Peel Park. There are also photos of the women in the double-decker buses he used to transport them — with their bodies pressed up against the windows.
I especially liked the photographs of the nudes in Peel Park. The pink-toned flesh of the overwhelmingly white group goes nicely with the pink blooms of the park. Also, I like how Tunick arranged them around the paths and gardens.
In the more industrial urban settings, the people look a lot less happy and many are sort of stooped over. Tunick used the art of L. S. Lowry, one of Mancheser’s most famous artists and the reason why The Lowry is called The Lowry, as his inspiration of how to present the city. Lowry is famous for his paintings and drawings of the grittier aspects of Manchester, and his crowds of stick-figure-style people have a stooped over, downtrodden air.
I have no idea what kind of directions Tunick gave the 1,000 eager participants, aside the order to ditch their clothing. Their melancholy expressions and hunched-over appearance might have been caused by the weather – in the museum’s documentary, the people look really cold and like they can’t wait to get back on the bus and cover themselves.
The gallery space at The Lowry isn’t huge (it only has those two exhibits), and it seems that theater is the bigger draw here. The big ticket for August is the musical Les Miserables, but The Lowry also offers comedy, opera, dance and film. The Lowry, however, is itself a work of art — as an uber-modern building.
The Lowry is located in Salford Quays, which is outside the city center of Manchester. It’s a pleasant 10-minute ride on the Metrolink, Manchester’s tram system. Salford Quays itself is an attractive, modern waterfront development and an excellent example of the rebirth of the area.
Comped But Never Compromised: I am visiting Manchester as a guest of CreativeTourist.com, a consortium of Manchester museums and galleries, but I am free to write whatever I want.