Esplanade in Singapore has censored a drawing by artist Vincent Leow after concerns about bestiality'
A moralist group named Singaporeans Defending Marriage and Family flagged the painting in a Facebook post, accusing the Esplanade of promoting bestiality and expressing concerns that the artwork could likely be seen by children during the
Ms Yvonne Tham, Esplanade chief executive-designate, said that after discussing with Mr Leow:
We have agreed to not continue displaying the drawing, given that the public space at Esplanade's Community Wall does not allow opportunity for an advisory and is visited by a wide range of visitors, including families.
We wish to assure the public that in presenting the exhibition, we had no intent to promote or advocate for any stance. As is often the case with art, viewers are free to draw their own interpretations of a drawing that is not a realistic
In this case, in view of the strong feedback we have received from some members of the public, the Community Wall may not be the most appropriate space to present this drawing, as it is a public thoroughfare with no opportunity for an advisory.
This is solely Esplanade's error of judgement.
A Russian gallery is considering removing a notable painting from display after it was vandalised by someone who took issue with the artist's take on a historical event.
'Alexander III receiving rural district elders in the yard of Petrovsky Palace in Moscow (1886)' by Illya Repin
Ilya Repin's 1986 portrayal of a highly contested historical scene depicts Tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich allegedly getting into a fight with his son. As the tale goes, the Tsar's son died during the course of the alleged confrontation.
Many have questioned the historical veracity of this tale and even one of Repin's biggest supporters, Tsar Alexander III loathed the painting because of its apparent vulgar distortion of Russian history.
Last week, a homeless man called Igor Podporin visited the Tretyakov Gallery where the painting is displayed. According to an interview he gave to police, he looked at the painting before going to the gallery's canteen where he then drank copious
amounts of alcohol before returning to the painting and striking it. The attack has caused severe damage to the painting and its frame
This was not the first time the work was vandalised. In 1913, a gallery visitor slashed the painting with a knife while shouting no more blood. The incident led to the gallery's' curator committing suicide while the still living Repin was asked to
help restore his work.
A commentator from eurasiafuture.com called for the painting to be removed from public view saying:
With Russian history being insultingly distorted by racist regimes and bigoted media outlets throughout the world, the least a Russian gallery could do is not add fuel to this racially insensitive fire. .
Not a bad wind-up value for for a 19th century painting.
The University of Southern Maine has censored three works by a highly regarded oil painter after learning that the artist
served six months in jail after being convicted of unlawful sexual contact nearly 20 years ago.
The censorship has prompted objections from the show's curator and the Union of Maine Visual Artists.
The paintings are by Bruce Habowski. The show's curator, Janice L. Moore, said they were removed when a relative of a victim in the sex crime called the university to complain. Where the paintings once hung are now empty hooks and open white wall
space with a signed note from Moore that says, This painting has been removed by order of the USM president. Moore added:
He was convicted for his crime and he paid his debt The act of making art, to me, it seems is a very positive thing. You are contributing to society in a positive way. I don't understand how that should be punished.
The university's communications department issued a statement about the censorship which said:
USM received a complaint from a member of the public. The complaint was not about the content of the art, but about the artist. After careful review, USM decided to remove his works from the exhibit.
A teacher wins a rather symbolic court victory in France over Facebook, who banned
Gustave Courbet's 1866 painting L'Origine du monde (The Origin of the World).
After a seven year legal battle, a French court has ruled that Facebook was wrong to close the social media account of educator Frédéric Durand without warning after he posted an image of Gustave Courbet 's 1866 painting The Origin of the World .
While the court agreed that Facebook was at fault, the social media giant does not have to pay damages. The court ruled that there was no damage because Durand was able to open another account.
Durand was not impressed, he said:
We are refuting this, we are making an appeal, and we will argue in the court of appeal that, actually, there was damage.
Durand's lawyer, Stéphane Cottineau, explained that when the social network deleted Durand's account in 2011, he lost his entire Facebook history, which he didn't use for social purposes, but rather to share his love of art, particularly of street
art and the work of contemporary living painters.
Cases of art censorship on Facebook continue to surface. The latest work deemed pornographic is the 30,000
year-old nude statue famously known as the Venus of Willendorf, part of the Naturhistorisches Museum (NHM) collection in Vienna. An image of the work posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda, a self-described artivist, was removed as inappropriate
content despite four attempts to appeal the decision.
The NHM reacted to Ghianda's Facebook post in January, requesting that Facebook allow the Venus to remain naked. There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine, says Christian Koeberl, the director general
of NHM. There is no reason to cover the Venus of Willendorf and hide her nudity, neither in the museum nor on social media.
Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO) has pulled a photo exhibition called Political
Prisoners in Contemporary Spain amid controversy because it includes images of Catalan politicians that are currently in jail.
The decision to remove the exhibition within hours of the art fair opening to the press has been attributed to censorship. The exhibition space is government funded so sensitivities have to be observed.
The polemic exhibit contained 24 black and white portraits by Spanish conceptual artist Santiago Sierra, displayed in the stand assigned to the Helga de Alvear gallery.
Gallery organisers were asked to remove the exhibit on Wednesday just hours after a press preview ahead of the art fair opening to the public.
Manchester Art Gallery has censored a historic artwork seemingly in response to #MeToo
concerns about men gazing on naked women.
John William Waterhouse's painting Hylas and the Nymphs was painted in 1896 and depicts pubescent, naked nymphs tempting a handsome young man to his doom. It is one of the most recognisable of the pre-Raphaelite paintings.
Although framing the decision as some sort of prompt for a debate, the censorship seems permanent as the gallery has also announced that will also be erased from the post card selection in the gallery shop.
Clare Gannaway, the gallery's 'curator' of contemporary art, explained the censorship on grounds of political correctness. She spoke about the work, and related paintings which were exhibited in a room titled In Pursuit of Beauty :
The title was a bad one, as it was male artists pursuing women's bodies, and paintings that presented the female body as a passive decorative art form or a femme fatale.
For me personally, there is a sense of embarrassment that we haven't dealt with it sooner. Our attention has been elsewhere ... we've collectively forgotten to look at this space and think about it properly. We want to do something about it now
because we have forgotten about it for so long.
She added that the debates around Time's Up and #MeToo had fed into the decision.
She also invented a bizarre take on "I don't believe in censorship...BUT...". She claimed
The aim of the removal was to provoke debate, not to censor. It wasn't about denying the existence of particular artworks. [ ...BUT... it was about preventing men from gazing on the female form].
The response so far has been mixed. Some have said it sets a dangerous precedent, while others have called it po-faced and politically correct.
I particularly enjoyed a blunt reader comment on a miserable Guardian editorial piece
supporting the censorship. TheGreatRonRafferty commented:
Nope, it's censorship. The reason it has been removed is because it shows women's breasts, but now we're being fed bunkum, because those who would hide women's breasts aren't willing to say so.
And an the subject of journalistic accuracy, Andrew Sutton wrote to the Guardian:
Your arts correspondent, Mark Brown, repeatedly refers to Waterhouse as a Pre-Raphaelite. Waterhouse was a prominent Victorian painter contemporary with the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, but was never a member and to refer to him as such is just
Manchester Art Gallery said the censored painting will be back on display on Saturday, seemingly on council
orders. It's been clear that many people feel very strongly about the issues raised, Manchester City Council said.
Critics have been robustly condemning the curators for being puritanical and politically correct.
The gallery's interim director Amanda Wallace said:
We were hoping the experiment would stimulate discussion, and it's fair to say we've had that in spades - and not just from local people but from art-lovers around the world.
Throughout the painting's seven day absence, it's been clear that many people feel very strongly about the issues raised, and we now plan to harness this strength of feeling for some further debate on these wider issues.
Presumably the politically correct curators have been living in their own little Guardian reading filter bubble and simply didn't realise how few people supported their views on the censorship of art.
Offsite Comment: Perhaps a little sensitivity training for the staff of the gallery might be in order
The gallery is on tricky ground. Was it censoring Waterhouse's painting? Gannaway says no, but how else do you describe the removal of an
artwork because someone objects to its subject matter on the grounds of a debate that actually has nothing to do with it? Perhaps a little sensitivity training for the staff of the gallery might be in order.
The belief that art needs to be contextualised in this way is not only deeply patronising -- it is also opening up a gap between
the art world and the public. Mounting their moral high horses, curators and critics see the role of the arts as one of correcting the way people think about the world -- to make people see the world as it is seen by these elites: riven by gender
bias, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, corporate corruption, environmental irresponsibility, and so forth.