Instagram Apologizes to Artist Over Topless Cartoon Ban

Tara McPherson, An Interruption of Blood (2015). Photo via Instagram/@taramcpherson

The battle over female nudity on Instagram has raged on for what feels like ages. An impressive roster of celebrities have joined the #FreetheNipple cause, which has Chelsea Handler, Rihanna, Scout Willis, and of course, Miley Cyrus posting topless and nearly-topless images in protest of the puritanical regulations (see Photography Show Touts Work by Lana Del Rey’s Sister, Demi Moore’s Daughter) that disallow women’s nipples from being shown on Instagram. Ultimately, most of the images, and sometimes even their owners, have been removed from the website. But that has only added more fuel to the fire.

What is most baffling is that Instagram’s anti-toplessness crusade has even spread into the realm of painting, drawing, and photography posted by artists trying to show off their wares (which, as we know, is practically a must—see Chelsea Gallerist Zach Feuer Sees Sales Bolstered by Instagram). But it looks like the photo-sharing service could be loosening the reins, at least when it comes to fine art.

Complex reports that Brooklyn artist Tara McPherson was recently asked to remove a post of one of her paintings that depicts a topless cartoon woman covered in Band-Aids. However, Instagram eventually reinstated the picture, issuing a private apology to the artist.

Could the ‘gram be turning over a new, less rabidly anti-boob leaf? Or are painted breasts really that much less offensive than the real deal? While the exact reason for the photo’s reinstatement remains unknown, it certainly seems like the cartoonish nature of the breasts in question saved them from oblivion, while a more realist set (even if also rendered in paint) might not be so lucky. After all, Instagram giveth, and Instagram taketh away.

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