Picture this: it's the middle of December, and you're outside of an Italian restaurant in Akron, butt naked. Sounds like a nightmare you might have after too much red wine! But for a couple lucky northeastern Ohioans, it was a chance to be a part of high art.

Spencer Tunick, an artist best known for getting huge numbers of people to strip naked in public for his photography, asked local, non-professional models Roger Marble and Jen Maurer to pose for outdoor nude portraits. Tunick's wife is an Akron native, and he decided to get a few snaps in while visiting her family over the holidays. You know, when things were nice and frigid.

How's posing in 18-degree weather? Tunick told the Akron Beacon Journal that "the feet are the worst part." (Amateur nude Maurer added, "I can't imagine what it was like to go down in the Titanic.")

This wasn't the first time Tunick asked some Buckeyes to strip down. In 2004, he staged one of his nudie tableau vivants in Cleveland, which drew almost 3,000 people of all ages and body types. Tunick's models disrobe en masse at the crack (heh) of dawn, and everyone gets a limited-edition print for their troubles.

So, um, what's the point?

According to Tunick's Web site, he thinks of naked people as a medium unto themselves. "The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance," reads an artist statement. But hold up, you pervs, they're not for titillation! The site adds that the photos "do not underscore sexuality." Um, we should hope not. Roger Marble is 64 and, oh, guys? It's REALLY COLD IN OHIO.

The most people who've have ever turned out for a Tunick installation? 18,000. But that was, of course, in balmy Mexico City.





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