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PETA Celebrates 25 Years of Naked Ads with New Art Exhibit

By Stephanie Lulay | October 29, 2014 7:31am
 In celebration of the campaign's 25th anniversary, PETA is displaying a collection of its naked ads in a new exhibit at Mars Gallery in the West Loop.
PETA Naked Ads Retrospective
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 WEST LOOP — In celebration of their racy campaign's 25th anniversary, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has launched a new exhibit featuring some of the organization's most influential ads.

The "Naked Ambition: 25 Years of PETA's Sexy Celebrity Ads" retrospective opened Tuesday night and will be on display through Saturday at Mars Gallery, 1139 W. Fulton Market in the West Loop. The exhibit is launching in Chicago before heading to other major cities, said Lindsay Rajt, PETA's associate director of campaigns.

PETA's "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign began with The Go-Go's in 1989. Since then, actresses, musicians and athletes keen to PETA's social message have bared all in the ads.

Relying on the old advertising adage "sex sells"' PETA has turned heads in order to draw attention to their serious message, Rajt said.

"Nothing grabs attention quite like a naked ads does," she said at the gallery Tuesday.

While the "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ads launched PETA's in-the-nude theme, celebrities have more recently appeared in PETA's "Ink, Not Mink" ads. "The Newsroom" star Olivia Munn appeared in an ad urging people to boycott the circus and Canadian actress Laura Vandervoot appears in a current ad slamming Sea World.

The PETA celebrity photo shoots come about in a variety of ways, Rajt said. While sex symbol Pamela Anderson shared her like-minded views in a letter to the organization back in her "Baywatch" days, others, including Eva Mendes, decide to pose after being called out by PETA.

After PETA wrote Mendes a "very polite" letter addressing her fur-styled wardrobe choices on the red carpet, Mendes ultimately pledged not to wear fur and posed for the campaign in 2006, Rajt said.

Ads on display at the Mars Gallery also include celebrities Kim Basinger, Alicia Silverstone, Dave Navarro, Taraji P. Henson and Joanna Krupa. 

Check out the PETA "Naked Ambition" retrospective in our slideshow.

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