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Vienna - An Austrian museum has been forced to cover up several large images of nude men after posters used to promote a forthcoming exhibition caused an outcry.
The Leopold Museum – a major institution of modern art in Vienna – is staging the Nackte Manner (Naked Men) showcase. But the decision to advertise the show with giant versions of some of the works that will go on display has proved controversial.
“We got many, many complaints,” Klaus Pokorny, a spokesman for the museum says.
“We didn’t realise that many, many people would be really upset or really angry in a way that we are also afraid about security, about protection of the visitors.”
One of the exhibits that will feature in the show is Vive La France – a trio of photographs by the French artists Pierre & Gilles.
It shows three men of different racial backgrounds naked but for blue, red or white socks, and football boots.
Another work – Mr Big, by the Austrian photographer Ilse Haider – shows a nude man reclining on one elbow. Placed outside the Leopold Museum, it has been drawing crowds.
The museum has now decided to cover the “intimate parts” of the images – and the exhibition will go ahead as planned later this week.
Some 300 images will be included in the show, which will run until January 28.
“Many people told us that they wanted to, or had to, protect their children,” Pokorny continued. “Some had warned that ‘if we won’t cover it, they would go there with a brush and they would cover it with colour.’ Already somebody did that.”
Despite the provocative nature of the images, the museum has been surprised by the reaction to the posters.
“We are not really happy about the situation,” Pokorny added. “You always hope that we have made progress, that we are now in the 20th century.”
A statement on the museum website explains that the exhibition offers revolutionary perspective on the human body.
“Previous exhibitions on the theme of nudity have mostly been limited to female nudes,” it reads. “Thanks to loans from all over Europe, the exhibition Naked Men will offer an unprecedented overview of the depiction of male nudes.”
It also describes the show as “a long overdue exhibition on the diverse and changing depictions of naked men”.
Exhibits will also include what might be deemed more “acceptable” versions of male nudity, such as paintings on Greek vases and works from the Renaissance. – Daily Mail