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Recently, the tourist board of Vienna created a profile on OnlyFans where, with a simple subscription, users can view the NSFW artworks and also become eligible for a free ticket to the featured museums. This is considered a very unusual choice for a public entity but it’s not only about promotion since they are raising the issue regarding censorship mechanisms of explicit contents that could become paradoxical when applied to artworks.
As stated on the Viennese tourist board’s website, they are facing a new wave of prudishness, due to the social media guidelines that do not allow museum’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram to share nudity.
Vienna has always been broad-minded, but now it is “almost impossible” to use the artworks of one of the most famous Viennese painters of the 20th century to promote the city and its museums. Moreover, this is not the first time facing this situation, in July the Albertina Museum was forced to open a new TikTok account since the older one was suspended after sharing a picture with women’s breasts by Nobuyoshi Araki. In 2019 a Facebook post depicting “Lovers” by Koloman Moser posted by the Leopold Museum was removed because considered pornography. The same happened to artworks all over the world from Modigliani, Schiele, and Klimt.
Three years ago, the Leopold Museum of Vienna was facing a similar problem with a marketing campaign in UK, USA, and Germany because they didn’t allow the museum to promote Schiele’s artworks with posters in these countries. The hashtag #ToArtItsFreedom became viral and reached 7 million of social media impressions and was related to the motto of Viennese Secession “To every age its art, to every art its freedom”, they bypassed the censorship by covering breasts and sex organs with a banner saying, “100 years old but still too daring today”.
The artworks of Schiele and Moser are essential to promote Vienna and its museums, so it’s «unfair and frustrating if they can’t be used on social media» as stated by Helen Hartlauer, the spokesperson for the tourist board. In this sense, the account on OnlyFans wants to give the chance to see the explicit artworks famous all over the world.
The aim of the campaign on OnlyFans is to create awareness about censorship and underline how it can affect the promotion of art and the work of contemporary artists, do we really need these limitations? what is the future for this sort of explicit content?