What is Art? The Naked Truth
The 21st century has rightfully earned its reputation as the Digital Era, where online social networking has become the quintessential way of connecting with friends and family. With the internet constantly at our fingertips, it seems that the line between informative and over-sharing has become blurred past the point of recognition. Case and point: In France, the Pompidou Center recently had a nude photo removed from its Facebook page on the grounds that any images of nudity violate the company’s conditions of use. The problem? This wasn’t just any old naked snapshot: it was Gerhard Richter’s Ema, which was posted to promote the artist’s retrospective that was recently at the Tate Modern in London.
Critics and the Pompidou Center immediately cried foul on the imposed censorship, and lodged a complaint against the social networking site and its blatant inability to distinguish pornography from art. The image was soon after reposted, because while Facebook policy technically forbids any and all nude photos, there is a clause that allows nude paintings and sculptures. The ambiguity revolving around the company’s take on censorship pronounces an already marked issue in the art world: Who has the power to determine if something is –or is not –art?
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