Art is a matter of perception. What one person might think is an enthralling, mood-fuelled abstract, another could see as a mess of spilt paint. What one critic might see as a tribute to the male naked form, those on the street could see it as pornography, or so it happened this week in Austria.
A museum in the country’s capital, Vienna, was forced to cover up hundreds of make genitalia on posters advertising an exhibition after thousands of complaints from enraged locals.
Some of the city’s residents admitted to getting a bit of a thrill from the full-frontal shots but others described the posters as “pathetic” and “pornographic”. One angry local lady even threatened to paint over the offending parts unless action was taken.
The large full-frontal photo of three French football players is being used to advertise an exhibition on the naked male form at the city’s Wiener Leopold Museum.
The three players, wearing nothing but socks and boots, and with a football between their feet, had appeared on a total 250 billboards across the city. A real rubber-necking traffic-stopper… we’re surprised there wasn’t an accident caused.
The museum reported that most of the complaints came from women.
The French have been asked to leave… but Mr Big is set to stay.
“We don’t want to disturb either children or adults, and if it’s clearly something people don’t want to see then we have to respect that,” a museum spokesman told the newspaper Wiener Zeitung.
“But the men [on the poster] are clearly not sexually aroused so we thought it would not cause offence.
“Our aim wasn’t to be provocative, and we regret causing any offence.”
The photo features three French footballers of three different ethnic backgrounds. The picture had originally been used to portray a multicultural France, but the Wierner Leopold thought it would make for an appropriate advertisement for its exhibition on naked men.
Appropriate? Maybe not… Controversial? Yes-um!
Vienna will be freed of its exposure to the three men’s bits this week as the posters will soon sport a waist-high oblong of paint to cover the sources of discontent.
Any advertisements that had been placed near schools will be removed.
But, despite the chaos, the museum said it will keep a massive sculpture of a reclining male entitled ‘Mr Big’ which lies outside the museum.
We don’t know what his name is referring to, but apparently he hasn’t received any complaints as of yet…