To Dream, to Collect


 The Facebook censorship of Art 

The topic of Facebook’s censoring rules is once again a hot potato in the art world. This time the discussion is centered on the temporary blocking of Christopher Stout Gallery’s account for posting a photograph of Lisa Levy in profile, sitting naked on a toilet. The image was used to promote the artist two-day performance piece titled The Artist is Humbly Present; a satirical response to Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present, which took place this weekend at the gallery in Brooklyn.

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Stout Gallery

This is not the first time Facebook has aggravated a reaction from the art world. There is still the French legal battle over Coubert’s, L'Origine du monde (The Origin of the World) and the suspension of New York magazine’s art critic Jerry Saltz profile. 


Some people even used the censorship as a source of inspiration, like German photographer Peter Kaaden who created the series of photographs Le Louvre in 2014, after his photo of a nude sculpture was removed only minutes after being posed on social media. The series features photos of old school nude statues but with their faces and private parts blurred. The artist stated “it wasn’t even nudity. It was just a sculpture” according to the Huffington post.

Photo courtesy of Peter Kaaden

Things have moved forward since, according to Facebook’s current community standards they now “allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”. Facebook also states “our policies can sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes. We are always working to get better at evaluating this content and enforcing our standards.”


However, this has not stopped the censoring of Art and many remain critical to the fact that Facebook gets to decide what is appropriate or not and argues that these rules, especially those regarding nudity threaten to censor artists who depict the human body.


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