As Trial Looms Over Courbet Nude, Facebook Censors Copenhagen's Mermaid, Philadelphia's Pop Art

  • February 14, 2016 23:51

  • Email
Evelyne Axell, Ice Cream, (1964). Collection of Serge Goisse, Belgium © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
(Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art via Facebook)

An appeals court in France has ruled that a lawsuit brought against Facebook by a Parisian teacher can move forward. The ruling comes after recent uproar over Facebook's censorship of art images, including an iconic statue and a Pop Art piece on view at major museums.

Facebook suspended the account of Frederic Durand-Baissas, 57, five years ago, after he posted a photo of Gustave Courbet's "The Origin of the World," the seminal painting from 1866 that depicts lady parts.

Durand-Baissas seeks 20,000 euros ($22,550) in damages and wants his account reactivated by the social media giant.


"This is a case of free speech and censorship on a social network," Durand-Baissas told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "If (Facebook) can't see the difference between an artistic masterpiece and a pornographic image, we in France (can)."
California-based Facebook has revised its "Community Standards" in the past five years to include the statement: "We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures." 
Yet, on Feb. 5, when the Philadelphia Museum of Art posted Belgian artist Evelyne Axell’s 1964 painting Ice Cream on its Facebook page, the image was removed. The work shows a woman licking an ice cream cone, which Facebook deemed as “containing excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content”. Axell's painting later returned to the page. It is part of the popular traveling exhibition "International Pop," on view at the museum starting Feb. 24.
The museum added this description to the post:
“Ice Cream” (1964) was painted by Evelyne Axell, one of the first female Pop artists. Her work can be understood as a critique of mainstream Pop Art, in which women were often depicted as passive, decorative objects. In contrast, Axell sought to depict active, confident women who pursue satisfaction on their own terms—such as the protagonist of “Ice Cream,” who unabashedly enjoys her dessert. Axell’s provocative paintings challenge artistic conventions while also exhibiting a liberated, playful spirit characteristic of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Last month, Facebook censored a photo of Copenhagen's beloved "Little Mermaid" statue, for nudity.

Read more at San Jose Mercury News

  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Edward Willis Redfield, Road and River, 1926.  Gift of Ruth Woods Dayton.  Huntington Museum of Art.

'American Impressionism: Treasures from the Daywood Collection' Will Travel to Several Museums

  • ArtfixDaily / November 29th, 2020

Drawn from the collection of West Virginia's Huntington Museum of Art, the traveling exhibition American ...

Bureau of Land Management - Utah via Facebook

That Mystery Monolith in the Utah Desert Has Disappeared

  • New York Times / November 29th, 2020

Art lovers speculated that it was a sculpture by the late Minimalist artist John McCracken. Others were convinced it ...

Cole Sternberg, (detail of work) FREESTATE installation view at ESMoA.

Artist Cole Sternberg Conjures Up The Free Republic of California

  • ArtfixDaily / November 23rd, 2020

For ESMoA’s Experience #47 FREESTATE, an art experience in Southern California, artist Cole Sternberg created an ...

Artist unidentified; initialed “J.F.R.” | Cleveland-Hendricks Crazy Quilt, 1885-1890.  Lithographed silk ribbons, silk, and wool with cotton fringe and silk and metallic embroidery, 75 x 77 in.  American Folk Art Museum.  Image Credit: American Folk Art Museum / Art Resource, NY

'Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change' Opens at Toledo Museum of Art

  • ArtfixDaily / November 23rd, 2020

American quilts have long been connected with notions of tradition, with patterns and techniques passed down for ...


Related Press Releases

Schwenke Auctioneers - Shagbark Farm Collection - Dec 6

ARTFIXdaily Artwire