The Austrian capital has found a new site for censorship-free artistic expression: the adults-only platform OnlyFans.
More than a century after the artists of the Vienna Secession declared “their art for all time; to art its freedom”, the Austrian capital has found a new site for censorship-free artistic expression: the adults-only platform OnlyFans.
The Vienna Tourist Board has opened an account at OnlyFans – the only social network that allows nude performances – in protest against the ongoing censorship of its art museum and gallery platforms.
In July, the Albertina Museum’s new TikTok account was suspended and later blocked for displaying works by Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki that showed a darkened female breast, forcing the museum to open a new account. This followed a similar incident in 2019, when Instagram ruled that a Peter Paul Rubens painting violated the platform’s community standards prohibiting any depiction of nudity. even those that are “artistic or creative in nature.”
In 2018, the Natural History Museum photograph of the 25,000-year-old Venus figure in Willendorf was deemed pornographic by Facebook and removed from the platform.
The 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf figure appears in the tourism board’s campaign. Photographer: fans only.
The Leopold Museum has also struggled to promote its collection of Expressionist Egon Schiele nudes, and advertising regulators in Germany, the UK and the US refused to display them in an urban tourism campaign in 2018 (the bureau of tourism successfully re-sent the placards with banners). darkening the naked bodies reading: “Sorry, I am 100 years old, but still today it is too daring”).
A short video featuring Koloman Moser’s Liebespaar painting, made to mark the Leopold Museum’s 20th anniversary this year, was rejected by Facebook and Instagram as “potentially pornographic.”
These works and more are now on full display, safe from the threat of censorship, in OnlyFans Vienna Profile – and only make fun of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Helena Hartlauer, spokeswoman for the Vienna tourism board, said it was “almost impossible” for the city and its cultural institutions to use nude artwork in promotional materials. Some works in the current Albertina exhibition by Italian portraitist Amedeo Modigliani are too explicit to promote, he said.
“Of course you can work without that, but these works of art are crucial and important for Vienna; When you think of Schiele’s self-portrait from 1910, it is one of the most iconic works of art. If they can’t be used in such a robust communication tool like social media, it’s unfair and frustrating. That’s why we think [of OnlyFans]: finally, a way to show these things “.
First subscribers to “Vienna content for over 18s” on OnlyFans will receive a Vienna city card or admission ticket to see one of the artworks in person.
The city is renewing its efforts to promote Vienna as a travel destination since the Austrian government relaxed border restrictions for foreign citizens. Arrivals decreased by 78.4% in 2020 compared to 2019, with some months registering almost no visitors.
But Hartlauer said the new “Vienna strips on OnlyFans” campaign wasn’t just about encouraging tourists; it was also to publicize the censorship standards that contemporary artists work on.
Instagram, along with its parent company Facebook, has maintained its strict non-nudity policy in the face of years of criticism, and even as it has become a more essential platform for artists. In July, creatives protested against the unequal promotion of their work on social media with the hashtag #FixTheAlgorithm.
“Compared to artists who fall under this censorship, the Vienna tourist office and even art collections have it easier,” Hartlauer said. “We just want to ask ourselves: do we need these limitations? Who decides what to censor? Instagram censors images and sometimes you don’t even know it, it’s very non-transparent. “
OnlyFans was founded in 2016 to be a more permissive and fair platform for online creators of all stripes, although it became synonymous with sex work through the pandemic. Last year, the site went from 7.5 million to 85 million users, paying more than $ 2 billion (£ 1.45 billion) in subscription fees to 1 million creators.
In August, OnlyFans announced that it would ban “sexually explicit” content, claiming it was due to pushback from the banking industry. The company quickly changed course after protests, but for many creatives, it served as a reminder of their reliance on online platforms.
Ironically, the Vienna tourist office, having decided to launch its presence on OnlyFans, found barriers to promoting it. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram rejected links to the platform, requiring the board to communicate with their service teams, in some cases for weeks.
Hartlauer said the obstacles to launching the campaign proved his point about the insidious power of social media platforms to influence and stifle artistic expression. “It shows us again that this is the right question.”
He said the tourist office would retain the Vienna OnlyFans account beyond this campaign, although he did not know how or how often it would be updated.
“This marketing initiative of ours is not the ultimate solution to this troubled relationship between the art world and social media, but … we want to defend our values and our beliefs,” he said. “Vienna has always been famous for being open-minded.”
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