To Escape Facebook’s Scrutiny, Vienna Museums Are Revealing Their Raciest Art (and Educating the Masses) on the Adult Site OnlyFans

The museums' nudes have been censored by other social media channels.

Night shot of the Albertina. Vienna. 2013. Photo: Gerhard Trumler/Imagno/Getty Images.

In an effort to avoid censorship by social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, the Vienna Tourism Board has found a new venue to show off NSFW artworks: OnlyFans.

Best known as a subscription-based platform where sex workers can sell original content because of its lax nudity guidelines, OnlyFans has more than 50 million registered users and more than one million creators. Now, museums in the Austrian capital city are adding their own, hoping to avoid having promotional material blocked or suspended.

Instagram has come under criticism by creatives for its stringent community guideline policies that frequently misidentify fine art paintings, sculptures, and photography as inappropriate. Helen Hartlauer, a spokesperson for the tourist board, told the Guardian that it is “almost impossible” for Vienna’s museums and galleries to use artwork containing nudity in promotional campaigns.

Screenshot courtesy of YouTube/ Vienna Tourism Board.

Screenshot courtesy of YouTube/Vienna Tourism Board.

In 2018, a picture of the Venus of Willendorf, a 25,000-year-old Stone Age statue that is part of Vienna’s Naturhistorisches Museum’s collection, was removed from Facebook because it was deemed “pornographic.” Other city institutions have also run afoul of social media rules, despite Facebook changing its policy to allow for artworks depicting nudity to remain online. The Leopold Museum, which houses more than 200 works by Egon Schiele, had its marketing campaign rejected by the United States, Germany, and the U.K. for depicting nudes by Schiele, and a 20th anniversary video was rejected by Facebook earlier this year. The Albertina Museum’s TikTok account was suspended in July for posting photographs by Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki that showed women’s breasts, and said that in the past, work by Peter Paul Rubens was flagged as inappropriate.

In a video posted to the city of Vienna’s website, managed by the tourism board, titled “Vienna strips on OnlyFans,” images of nude paintings by Amedeo Modigliani, Schiele, and Rubens, as well as the Venus of Willendorf, are accompanied by captions inviting viewers to discover “everything” the museums have to offer.

Hartlauer said, “These artworks are crucial and important to Vienna….If they cannot be used on a communications tool as strong as social media, it’s unfair and frustrating.” The museums hope to draw attention to the censorship issues on social media websites in addition to drawing more visitors to the IRL institutions; early subscribers to the adult content on Vienna’s OnlyFans site will get a Vienna City Card or free admission to an individual museum.

Earlier this year the adult website Pornhub debuted a campaign to stoke online engagement, hiring members of the porn troupe MySweetApple to recreate nude artworks and entice museum visitors and web surfers alike to take X-rated tours of the holdings of the some of the world’s most august institutions. The videos were removed when the Louvre and the Uffizi threatened legal action for unauthorized use of artwork images.

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