The Controversial Poster for “Nude Men – From 1800 to Today” Exhibition


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Myself  .

By T.V. Antony Raj

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More women than men stop to stare at Mr. Big by Ilse Haider. Installation in the courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier, Vienna Walk-in sculpture. Courtesy Galerie Steinek, Vienna
More women than men stop to stare at Mr. Big by Ilse Haider. Installation in the courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier, Vienna Walk-in sculpture. Courtesy Galerie Steinek, Vienna

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In Austria, Elisabeth and Rudolf Leopold collected more than 5,000 exhibits over five decades. In 1994, the exhibits were consolidated into the Leopold Museum Private Foundation with the help of the Republic of Austria and the National Bank of Austria.

The Leopold Museum, housed in the Museumsquartier in Vienna, Austria, opened in 2001. It has one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art featuring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl. In fact, it houses the world’s largest Egon Schiele Collection.

The core of the Leopold Museum collection consists of Austrian art of the first half of the 20th century. It  includes key paintings and drawings by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. Major Austrian works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries illustrate the historical context. They show the gradual transformation from the Wiener Secession, the Art Nouveau/Jugendstil movement in Austria to Expressionism.

On October 19, 2012, it opened its major exhibition by Ilse Haider, about male nudes titled “Nackte Männer von 1800 bis heute” (“Nude Men – From 1800 to Today”). The exhibits describe how male nudity has evolved in art and includes pieces by Egon Schiele, Auguste Rodin and Andy Warhol.

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Nackte Männer (Source - .huffingtonpost.co.uk)
The controversial Poster “Nackte Männer – von 1800 bis heute” (Source – .huffingtonpost.co.uk)

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The Museum advertised the event with a large promotional street poster that featured one of the exhibition’s most prominent artworks, a photograph called ‘Vive La France‘ by French artists Pierre & Gilles. It showed three French football players: the first black, the second Arab/Muslim and the third white. All three players standing naked on a pitch, with their genitals revealed, showered with confetti. They wore nothing but socks and boots.

The poster elicited a public outcry. The Museum denied the allegations that the controversial poster was a gimmick to draw crowds to its major exhibition. However, the artists themselves amended their work. They added a red stripe to cover the players’ genitalia on roughly 180 large posters in Vienna.

In fact, the public outcry proved that the photo’s jubilant scene prophetic. The exhibition, which ran until January 28, 2012, was a great success and drew more than 2000 daily visitors. evolved in art and includes pieces by Egon Schiele, Auguste Rodin and Andy Warhol.

An obvious question that arises from the controversy over the naked French footballers is:

“Why is the image of a naked male more controversial than the image of a naked female?”

May be we have become more accustomed to seeing naked women more than naked men.  The devil

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