The Albertina museum

Viennese museums strip on OnlyFans amid social media censorship

Viennese museums strip on OnlyFans amid social media censorship

The OnlyFans page will display works of art celebrating the human body by world-famous painters

Four Viennese museums recently announced that part of their digital presence will be leaving conventional social media like Facebook for a more open-minded platform, OnlyFans. The move is part of a PR stunt organised by the Viennese Tourist Board titled ‘Vienna strips on OnlyFans’. The campaign also aims to highlight an important and contemporary question – the freedom of art in the digital age.

The question of censorship in the digital age

The museums taking part in the action are the Albertina, the Leopold Museum, the Museum of Art History and the Museum of Natural History, while the OnlyFans page features works by Egon Schiele, Richard Gerstl and Koloman Moser, all of them showing a lot of skin.

SchieleA portion of a painting by Egon Schiele, Source: Vienna Tourist Board

In the past, these cultural institutions have had problems with social media’s restrictive guidelines on nudity, when showcasing some of their exhibits. The Albertina for instance had trouble with censorship when promoting works by Alberto Modigliani for his upcoming exhibition in Vienna, starting on 9 January 2020.

The Leopold Museum faced similar issues when trying to publish works by the expressionist Egon Schiele, while the natural history museum had to fight against the censorship of a photo of the 30,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf. At the same time, if an account violates Facebook’s terms of service enough times, the platform will delete the account.

Norbert Kettner, the director of the Viennese Tourist Board was quoted in a press release, saying: “In social media, algorithms determine how much nudity we can show and they end up censuring world-famous painters. We ask ‘how much nudity can we tolerate and who determines what is considered indecent?’ In the cultural megapolis of Vienna, the answer is: The naked body is a socio-political and artistic component of cultural history.”

Getting more than you paid for

Because OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform, the images of artwork published by the museums are not freely available. People need to subscribe to the page to be able to see them. However, the museums see this as an opportunity to hand out tickets or Vienna City Cards to their supporters, opening up the physical space of the museum to more people.

The Viennese Tourist Board organised a similar action in 2017 in London, when they distributed posters featuring four works by Egon Schiele. Then, the organisers were forced to cover up the genitals in the paintings because they were considered indecent public exposure.



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