Savannah Homeowners Association Censors “Art Porn” Exhibition—But Not for the Reason You Think

Tatiana von Tauber, Her Reflection. Photo: via Tatiana von Tauber

A homeowners association in Savannah, Georgia is up in arms about a local gallery show called “Art Porn,” which opened last week at Oglethorpe Gallery. But it isn’t just the art they’re upset about—it’s the signage.

The artist, Tatiana von Tauber, was told last Thursday by the Oglethorpe Row Homeowners Association that she would have to remove the 10-inch-high white lettering bearing the exhibition title on the gallery windows. In hopes of reaching a compromise, she removed the more controversial word “porn,” but left “art.” She was later told to remove that as well, as the font size was “too large.”

“It makes me feel kind of censored and attacked, really, because I understand the ‘porn,’ but the ‘art’ was unnecessary,” von Tauber told Savannah Now. “They could have compromised with me; there’s nothing wrong with the word ‘art’ in a residential row. I have to find a way to get people in.”

Von Tauber noted that other artists have used similarly sized lettering to advertise other shows at the gallery.

Oglethorpe Row Homeowners Association board president Diana Morrison has said that no temporary signs are allowed, no matter what they say. “The removal of the signage has nothing to do with this exhibit or any other exhibit in the past or future,” she has said.

“I was told that everybody in this building is over 50 and they don’t want this here,” said von Tauber. “We can play the hide-the-porn card, but when you hide ‘art’ and call it out on its size, now you’re stepping on the local talent’s freedom and that’s not okay.”

Interestingly, we can’t help but notice that the paintings advertised on von Tauber’s website are tasteful, decidedly un-porny portraits of softy-lit nude and semi-nude women—nothing like the truly raunchy stuff that causes this kind of commotion elsewhere (see MACBA Barcelona Show Canceled Over Pornographic Artwork Ridiculing Spanish King Juan Carlos).

It seems like this may be one case in which a single dirty word is worth a thousand not-so-dirty pictures, at least as far as the local homeowners association is concerned.


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