While doing my daily scroll on TikTok the other day I came across a video posted by The Washington Post (yes they’re on TikTok and their content is amazing go give them a follow, after you finish reading this of course).
The TikTok video highlights instances of artwork being taken down from different social media platforms for being pornographic, inappropriate, or against community guidelines. The video goes on to joke that these artworks could be posted to OnlyFans (an adult website that allows users to pay for content, most being X-rated). Cut to a screenshot of the @viennatouristboards OnlyFans account.
After their TikTok account was suspended for posting nude content, a museum in Vienna decided to run a campaign. This campaign was put on to encourage tourism but most importantly to raise awareness around the censorship of art on social media in the modern day.
And so I present to you Vienna Strips on OnlyFans (also known as Vienna Laid Bare):
Quote from the campaign page: “Vienna and its art institutions are among the casualties of this new wave of prudishness – with nude statues and famous artworks blacklisted under social media guidelines, and repeat offenders even finding their accounts temporarily suspended. That’s why we decided to put the capital’s world-famous “explicit” artworks on OnlyFans.”
After coming across the TikTok video and looking into the campaign myself I was reminded that this isn’t the first time that a Vienna museum has gotten attention over artwork showing the nude body. Back in 2012 a Vienna museum hosted a champaign titled “Penis Problem” which commented on how society is more comfortable with seeing a nude female body than a nude male body. (probably because the industry is dominated by men who would rather show female nudity).
Overall I think we live in a culture that shames the human body. Why are we so uncomfortable with nudity?
Circling back to the world of social media. The most popular social media platform at the moment, TikTok, is known for doing dances online, sometimes in very little clothing. The default when first downloading the app are dance videos featuring people like Charli D’Amelio (a 17 year old, competitive dancer and one of TikToks biggest content creators with 127.2 million followers). Video after video are people dancing, sometimes very provocatively, and in Charli’s case children…
I mention this to say that I love the tongue-in-cheek and innovative way that Vienna Tourism’s campaign has managed to bypass an algorithm that determines what is “appropriate” for viewers to see.
Last thing that I will hit on, it this. It’s interesting that learning about these banned artworks from artists like Egon Schiele and Richard Gerstl is appropriate for school but not for social media. In a school setting it is understood that what is being looked at is art and is appreciated and studied by students of all ages. But the same artworks being posted on a public platform suddenly makes it insulting and pornographic? Why is it different? Does the context of it being post by the museum that houses the piece make a difference?
I wanted to talk about this bold partnership between Vienna Tourism and OnlyFans because art is meant to break the rules, it always has. Art is scandalous, expressive, and vulnerable. Don’t let society censor your creativity. There will always be a space for you. That piece you made that nobody seems to like or understand… could be talked about in an art history class some day with students studying every mark wondering what it means.
Not everyone is going to appreciate your art and that’s okay! It says more about the culture we live in on what is accepted and what is not then it does on your vulnerability.
Speaking of being vulnerable, take this as your permission slip to get naked more. Because nudity is fun and beautiful.