October 19, 2012

A Daring Art Exhibit Draws Censorship In Vienna

The Leopold Museum in Vienna has put together a daring show about the male figure in art over the last 200 years called "Nude Male: From 1800 to Today".  On the surface, that may not sound controversial but in the world of museums, the male nude has always taken a backseat to the female form and this is a rare exhibit which focuses solely on men.  

The poster for the exhibit, a photo of 3 naked soccer players by French photograph team Pierre et Gilles, has caused a stir though forcing the museum to self-censor the image in outdoor advertising. Of course, if you walk around NYC and many other European cities, you'll see naked women 50 feet tall on billboards (and in much more erotic poses than these sporty fellows) which haven't cause much of a stir. But the minute you have a naked man in public view, it's the end of the world as we know it. And in Vienna, the museum quickly caved to the flurry of protests.

If you're interested, you can see the uncensored version online along with some other selections from this wide-ranging exhibit, which includes works by Ego Schiele, Andy Warhol and Louise Bourgeios. It would be great to see this kind of survey at the Met or even the MoMA but that might be asking a lot.  However, the Brooklyn Museum was recently brave enough to host the traveling version of the Smithsonian's Hide/Seek exhibit....so maybe this will be coming to a borough near you in the next few years.

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