Pornhub Deletes Hardcore Art-Historical Pornography, Collectors Forge Vaccine Cards, and More Juicy Art-World Gossip
Which auction house chased away patrons with fake vaccine cards? Which collector's golf club is an art haven? Read on for answers.
Every week, Artnet News brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops reported and written by our crack team of reporters. This week, we welcome reporter Annie Armstrong back into the mix… .
FINE ART PORN GOES INCOGNITO MODE
Finally! Another great art heist: almost all of Pornhub’s “Classic Nudes” series (if you’re just catching up, bear with me for a second) has been mysteriously wiped from the Internet. Now that’s what I’d call a Thomas Crown affair! (If you read that in a Samantha Jones voice, I promise it’s funny.)
Last month, the porn site launched a dedicated section for salacious videos inspired by art-history greats. The company even made a high-camp introductory video starring Ilona “Cicciolina” Staller, who, you’ll remember, is the former porn star ex-wife of Jeff Koons that starred in his very graphic “Made in Heaven” series.
The whole thing was obviously an attempt on Pornhub’s part to save face after it was pushed to remove all unverified content from its platform last winter following a New York Times story by Nicholas Kristof unveiling that the site was rife with child pornography. Yikes… .
Unfortunately, this PR stunt backfired. Pornhub, you may remember, went so far as to create some arty porn for “Classic Nudes” by drawing from scintillating artworks in the collections of the Uffizi Gallery, the Museo Del Prado, the Musée d’Orsay, the Met, London’s National Gallery, and the Louvre. The company then hired the porn troupe MySweetApple to make living recreations of works like Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus (guest starring Cicciolina, who played the titular role), Gustav Courbet’s The Origin of the World, and Jan Gossaert’s Adam and Eve.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before a couple of the museums—the Louvre and Uffizi—slapped Pornhub with the threat of legal action, saying it made “unauthorized” use of their masterworks. “Pornhub has heard from our lawyers, we expect the works to be removed at once,” a Louvre rep told the Daily Beast.
While none of this really got me going, it was kind of fun, no? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Even though only two museums threatened lawsuits, and none of the others involved seemed to be planning any kind of legal action, practically all of Pornhub’s “Classic Nudes” content is gone.
The videos with Cicciolina, MySweetApple’s hardcore interpretations of Gossaert, Degas, Goya, and company have been scrubbed clean from the platform. The names of the Louvre, Prado, and Uffizi Gallery are no longer listed as being featured in the project.
A representative from the Uffizi told Wet Paint quite matter-of-factly over email that “the museum sued Pornhub because images of artwork in the Uffizi Gallery were published without asking permission. This is against the law. So Pornhub removed the contents.”
All that’s left are a few odd remnants: images of works from the Met, the Musée d’Orsay (Pornhub placed the accent in the wrong letter in “Musée,” but there’s something poetic about that), and the Prado—but alas, no recreations. There also remains a weird grouping of seemingly erotic artwork under the heading “Another Perspective,” which hosts “a selection of nude masterpieces from across the globe that depict a greater variety of cultures, subjects and, viewpoints not widely represented in Western art.” And uh, zero pornography.
I won’t yuck your yum if you like to mix a little bit of Impressionism into your routine. That said, I absolutely will judge you if you go to Pornhub to diversify your perspective of Western art. At that point, get your mind out of the gutter.
Pornhub could not be immediately reached for comment.
FORGED VACCINE CARDS AREN’T FOOLING ANYONE
At the beginning of the pandemic, the art world banded together (separately, of course) over its collective decision (really, enforced decision) to stay home and stop the spread of the virus during these unprecedented times. Eighteen months later, that’s all out the window. Shows are back on, auctions are heating up, and the summer’s art events are going on as if basically nothing ever happened.
All of which is courtesy of our safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines (Shout out to Dr. Fauci!), which are not only free and widely available, but which you can now get paid 100 claims to get. It couldn’t be easier.
Still, I wasn’t surprise when I heard that at least a few of our colleagues and fellow art-world denizens not only did not get their jabs, but even tried to use forged vaccine cards to get into Christie’s in New York.
A source close to the auction house told Wet Paint they watched as a group of five people were turned away from Christie’s Rockefeller Center location this weekend after security officers sniffed out false Excelsior passes, which New York State issues as proof of Covid vaccinations. The source said the group, which was trying to get in to see highlights from the Say It Loud: Visionaries of Self auction, had screenshots on their phones of vaccine cards belonging to other people, which security guards figured out when they tried to cross-check the group’s ID cards.
“For the most part, people took it well. They just kind of put their tail between their legs and walked away,” another source told Wet Paint. “But there were one or two people that really put up a fit and said like, ‘This is bullshit, I can’t believe you guys would do this.’ They weren’t even older, conservative collector types. They were people in their 20s.” (A second source confirmed the incident.)
And it wasn’t an isolated incident. Another source tells Wet Paint that at this year’s edition of Frieze New York in May, a few patrons literally ran away from security after being caught with fake vaccination cards. I do recall security being extremely intense this year, but that’s just ridiculous.
If you’re reading this and you’re one of those folks with a forged vaccine card, my message to you is this: please kindly find something else ridiculous to dig your heels into, like maybe a new blockchain trend? Or another artist whose main output is toys? Grow up and get the vaccine.
Christie’s and Frieze declined to comment.
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Squiggle wunderkind Mr. Doodle got married (to Mrs. Doodle, of course), and—in a bout of marital bliss—will release special-edition squiggle prints this weekend—“the artworks feature jellyfish falling in love, romantic flowers and cuddly doodle creatures hugging each other,” Mr. Doodle said) … Out in the Hamptons, The Bridge, a golf club-cum-Gagosian gallery owned by collector Robert Rubin is hosting some pretty irresistible new paintings by Harmony Korine of American presidents playing golf … A new TikTok trend sees the teens expressing their love for art by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gregory Crewdson, and Annie Lee, among others …
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