1. VIENNA (AFP).- The prehistoric "Venus of Willendorf" figurine, considered a masterpiece of the paleolithic era, has been censored by Facebook, drawing an indignant response Wednesday from the Natural History Museum in Vienna, where it is on display.
The tiny statuette of a voluptuous naked woman, which is some 30,000 years old, was discovered in the Austrian village of Willendorf in the early 20th century and is considered "the icon" of the museum, the facility's director general Christian Koeberl said in a statement.
The 11 centimetre (4 inch) statue from the early stone age is "the most popular and best-known prehistoric representation of a woman worldwide," he added.
The controversy began in December when Italian arts activist Laura Ghianda posted a picture of the artwork on the social networking site which went viral.
After it was censored she messaged that "this statue is not 'dangerously pornographic'. The war on human culture and modern intellectualism will not be tolerated."
The natural history museum voiced outrage, saying in its statement; "we think that an archeological object, especially such an iconic one, should not be banned from Facebook because of 'nudity', as no artwork should be.
"Let the Venus be naked! Since 29,500 years she shows herself as prehistoric fertility symbol without any clothes. Now Facebook censors it and upsets the community," it said.
"There is no reason for the Natural History Museum Vienna to cover the 'Venus of Willendorf', and hide her nudity, neither in the museum nor on social media," Koeberl insisted.
"There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine," he added.
The museum said it had never directly experienced censorship by Facebook, despite its recent post on "Stone Age pornography".
Facebook is regularly criticised over content which it bans or indeed content it allows to be published.
On March 15, a French court is due to pronounce on the decision by the California-based social networking site to close the Facebook account of someone who posted a photo of 19th century French painter Gustave Courbet's "Origin of the World" painting, which depicts female genitalia.
2. NEA, NEH, PBS all need funding now and in the future from this administration, so instead of trying to work with the President and maybe educate him on the importance and value of the arts, the Guggenheim offers him a gold plated commode with an obvious message sent as certain as flipping him off to his face. Stupid stupid and a missed opportunity to make a bad situation better instead of making a bad situation worse. The curator and director should be fired. JB
NEW YORK Guggenheim Chief Curator Offered Trump Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘America’
President Donald Trump’s request to borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh, to be hung in his private living quarters, was turned down firmly but politely by Nancy Spector, chief curator of the Guggenheim, New York.
In an email to the White House dated September 15, 2017, the curator presented an alternative offer, a long-term loan of the 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet, an interactive work titled “America.” The Trumps had requested to borrow Van Gogh’s “Landscape with Snow,” but the curator replied explaining that the painting was prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions and was on its way to be exhibited at the Guggenheim’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, and then it would return to New York for the foreseeable future.
Created by Maurizio Cattelan, well-known for his satirical and provocative creations, the Guggenheim exhibited “America” for a year in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use. Critics have described the work as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in the country. The cost of the gold to create “America” has been estimated to have been more than US$1 million. Cattelan conceived of the gold toilet before Trump’s candidacy for president, though he has acknowledged that he may have been influenced by the mogul’s almost unavoidable place in American culture. The artist also suggested that he had the wealth that permeates aspects of society in mind, describing the golden toilet “as one-per cent art for the ninety-nine per cent,” noted the South China Morning Post.