Baring all for art’s sake: Cork’s Crawford Gallery to offer nude tours

The hugely successful ‘Naked Truth’ exhibition at Cork’s Crawford Gallery is about to get a whole lot more naked — thanks to a nude tour of the artworks.

The gallery in Cork city centre is to host the first tour from the local Cork Clothes Free group, who will get an opportunity to view au naturel the 80 or so artworks based around the human body.

In another twist, artist Elizabeth Cope, who has a number of paintings at the exhibition, will sketch the group as they view the artworks.

The exhibition opened on July 12 and features works from the likes of James Barry, Robert Ballagh, Dragana Jurisic and Francis Bacon.

It seems to have worked if footfall is anything to go by. Curator Dawn Williams said the gallery has experienced an additional 5,000 visitors each month on average since it opened.

The exhibition does not finish until October 28.

A naked visitor to the Crawford Art Gallery enjoys the paintings of Eiizabeth Cope, one of the 30 artists represented in ‘Naked Truth: The Nude in Irish Art.’

A spokesperson for the Crawford said of the nude tours idea: “We are not out to shock you but we love that the public is responding to it.

"We want to satisfy the demands of people who want to see the exhibition and if they [the groups] feel it will be enhanced by doing so in this manner [viewing in the nude] then we will try and accommodate it.”

Gallery director Mary McCarthy said: “Our unique sculpture gallery is a meditation space on the human form. We have been overwhelmed by people’s positive responses to Naked Truth: The Nude in Irish Art. It has captured people’s curiosity about art and it has been a significant talking point in Cork and beyond, all summer.

In July, in what may have been an act of censorship, or possibly just a bit of messing, an unknown marker-carrier scribbled over one part of Elizabeth Cope’s ‘Giraffe Man’ painting.

But despite this cover-up, Dawn Williams said the response so far from the visiting public has been a testament to the artworks on show and the changing nature of Irish society.

“Judging from some of the comments in the book, a lot of people have been saying it’s so nice to be able to deal with the subject finally, and that we can deal with the body. There is nothing pornographic.

“I mean, we all have them.”

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