The incredibly famous 30,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf is one of the oldest pieces of art in existence and a cultural treasure almost beyond imagining. And you know what else? She is too hot for Facebook.
“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,” reported the Art Newspaper. The Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna—where Venus herself resides—has been protesting on its Facebook page, for instance posting that, “For 29.500 years, ‘our’ Venus of Willendorf has been presented as a prehistoric fertility undressed in full glory. Facebook is now censoring (https://tinyurl.com/ycf9gtvn)...We do not want to accept this and argue that Venus must remain naked! Give us a like if you see it as well.” They also included this image:
The museum’s director also provided a statement to Hyperallergic:
“There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine and we never heard of anybody who could have been offended by the look at this artifact...The perfection of the representation and harmonious style make the 29,500-year-old figure of the ‘Venus of Willendorf’ one of the most expressive works of art from the Paleolithic Age.”
What’s interesting is that the museum’s images never get touched—just a photo on a personal page.
This is not Facebook’s first tiff with art. The Art Newspaper explained:
A case on Facebook’s censorship of art was heard in a Paris court earlier this month. Frédéric Durand-Baïssas, a French teacher, has been trying to sue the social media giant since 2011 for closing his account after he posted a photograph of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du monde (Origin of the World), a realistic depiction of a woman’s genitals. Despite Facebook changing its policy on nudity to allow “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”, instances of art censorship persist.
At this point, my goodwill towards the company is so low I’d probably side with an obscene piece of macaroni art over Facebook.