Artist wants 2,008 nudes to pack stadium

VIENNA, Austria New York contemporary artist Spencer Tunick has gained notoriety worldwide for photographing thousands of people in the nude. Now he's planning to pack a Vienna soccer stadium with 2,008 naked fans in the run-up to the Euro 2008 tournament.

Austria's national railway said Thursday it will offer free travel to the first 2,008 men and women who sign up to bare it all for the May 11 spectacle, which will be held rain or shine. Tunick wants to pose them on the field inside Ernst Happel Stadium, where the tournament final will be played. Austria and Switzerland are co-hosting the event, which runs from June 7-29.

"2,008 naked people would be super!" said Katharina Murschetz of Kunsthalle Wien, a prestigious Vienna art exhibition center that is organizing the mass-nudity display.

Murschetz said the Austrian capital thinks Tunick's unusual genre is perfect for the European soccer championship "because he spreads a strong sense of community spirit" in the same way that the sport does.

"This very special ephemeral installation that we are inviting you to be part of is devised to capture and combine the spirit of sports, the grand sweeping waves of stadium architecture and the abstract relation of the human form to modern structures," organizers said in a statement.

Murschetz said it remains unclear exactly how Tunick will pose his 2,008 subjects: "He'll communicate that only moments before the installation," she said.

The Brooklyn-based artisg naked bodies on glaciers, in front of the United Nations, in downtown Amsterdam, Netherlands, on hotel balconies overlooking Miami's famed South Beach and in more than 70 other locations from Montreal to Melbourne, Australia.

Sometimes he poses them in fetal positions; other times lying prone on the ground.

His record? Photographing more than 18,000 unclothed people en masse in Mexico City's main square last year.

"We're certainly not going to break the Mexico record," Murschetz told Austrian television.

Organizers said more than 2,000 people had registered as of early March. They said photographs would be displayed publicly on Vienna's central Karlsplatz square starting June 23, and each participant will get a copy.

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