15 February 2008

Offensive Art

"Millions of people travel on the London Underground
each day and they have no choice but to view whatever ads
are posted there. We have to take into account the full
range of travellers and endeavour not to cause offence in
the adverts we display." ~ Transport for London Spokesman

At the risk of piling on, I want to call attention to the decision by officials at the Transportation Authority in London to ban fthis poster rom the London Underground. The poster advertises an upcoming exhibition of work by 16th-century German painter and printmaker Lucas Cranach at the Royal Academy of Arts. Are you kidding?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is obviously a sexualized image. The figure is posed seductively behind a translucent fabric. It doesn't become clean and wholesome by being old.

The Transportation Authority is right in considering the needs of the community that will be exposed to the poster. There are other posters for this exhibit. This one is too erotic for the TA to allow.

It's not like they're trying to take the painting down.


16 February, 2008 17:33  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

I guess I do not find the image "obviously" sexualized; It looks to me like an old painting. What I do
find astounding is that the Authority feels it necessary to worry about the sensibilites of every rider on this dimension when, for instance, there is all sorts of advertising for crap (say, fancy cars, junk food, fashion, or worthless TV shows) that I and many others find wasteful and and offensive.

16 February, 2008 18:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you don't see the sexuality in this image. I'm sure that if you were to share it with a 13 year old boy he'd do a better job of pointing it out, but I'll give it a try. Flirtatious smile, perky breasts, full frontal nudity, perfectly arranged hair, the only thing she wears is her jewelry, gingerly holds the transparent fabric meant to hide her sex but since it is transparent serves to accent her nakedness.

This was the pornography of the time. The subject was chosen so that it would be culturally acceptable for the artist to paint a naked woman, but men looked at this painting as an opportunity to stare at the form of a naked 16 year old girl. Even though it is old, it is still 'dirty.'

I agree with you, I'd rather see this poster than an advertisement for McDonalds, Honda, or whatever. Honestly though, it isn't much more sophisticated than the average sexy advertisement found in Cosmo or Vouge.


16 February, 2008 20:24  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

When the spokeswoman for the Royal Academy commented on the Transit Authority decision she described the painting as "innocent." I agree with her. If I were to see this with my teenage son, I would explain that Venus is a figure from ancient myth. I would also explain that nudity is not shameful. And I would explain that that is why lots of famous painting and sculpture show nudes ~ because the human body is taken as an exemplar of beauty.

16 February, 2008 21:47  

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