Naked Men Artwork Gets Censored in Vienna

| October 28, 2012 | 6 Comments

Naked Men Cause a Stir with Museum’s New Exhibit

Artwork Of Naked Men Gets Censored

Naked Men – An article recently came out in the Wall Street Journal, “Why Naked Men Get Short Shrift” and started off with the question, “Why does the male nude get no respect?”

Indeed. The article came out because of a new exhibit in the Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria called “Naked Men.” Well now, aren’t they just asking for trouble with a title like that? The museum promoted the exhibit by putting up posters around the city of three male soccer players, naked aside from their knee-high socks and cleats. It wasn’t long before they were met with a surge of complaints about the male nudity.

Let’s face it: the sight of naked men upsets people…even in Europe! And this was a poster. Imagine if it were live men, like in San Francisco.

The museum had posted images of full-frontal female nudity with no problem, so this backlash was supposedly unanticipated. The WSJ reported, “Some are complaining the images remind them of sex or sexually traumatic experiences.” Wait, reminded them of sex? They’re genitals. And I am completely sympathetic with people who have suffered sexual abuse or trauma but still, I do think it’s a pretty extreme reaction.

naked men art by pierre and gilles at vienna museum uncensored

Naked Men Uncensored version of “Vive La France” by Pierre and Gilles, featured on a poster to promote the new “Naked Men” exhibit at the Leopold Museum

Yet this comment from another report is more revealing (no pun intended): “Museum officials say they received a flood of complaints by last week, mostly from outlying districts heavily populated by new immigrants from Muslim countries.” Oh. That makes sense. This is why they are also quoted on saying the intolerance toward male nudity is “partially religious based.”

But is that any reason to give in and censor the posters? Must they appease people who don’t want to see male genitals on a poster “because of their religious beliefs”?

naked men women double standard Austria Gustav Klimt

Female nude art by Gustav Klimt, reportedly the most common poster in Vienna right now. But no problems with this one!

In my opinion, the museum shouldn’t have capitulated and covered the genitals in red tape! Austria is not a Muslim country, and this is art as well as freedom of expression. Why not let people complain or protest? It’s simply depicting the human body as part of an art exhibit. By covering it up, the museum is actually saying that the complaints were justified. It is also sending a signal that the human body and / or genitals are obscene, always pornographic, shameful, inappropriate, bad, and every other negative adjective you can think of.

In my world view, the penis is no more obscene than the elbow. Since the museum had previously posted images of naked women with no backlash, are they saying that the vagina is okay but the penis is bad? In my book, that is a double standard since a naked body is a naked body. The red tape is also marring the original artwork which is a slap in the face to the artist who created it.

I think it is time for people to protest the censorship! Here is a little note I prepared that people can simply copy and paste (but personalize) and email to the curator of the exhibit at

Dear Tobias Natter,

It has been called to my attention that you decided to cave to public pressure and are now covering up the posters for your exhibit “Naked Men”. If this is true then I find it personally upsetting and offensive. This is an art exhibit – would you cover Michelangelo’s David if enough people complained? Since you had previously posted posters of nude females, are you trying to say that a naked man is something that is shameful?

I cannot in good faith support such policies and would like you to email me back explaining your actions. Please note, that public opinion and pressure is not justification for this action.


Is there anything healthy in continually censoring the human body? Telling everyone, adults and children, that there’s something wrong with that part of our bodies? They are only perpetuating the idea of body shame; a part of American, and I guess Austrian, culture that is harmful and time to do away with. By capitulating, and censoring the nudity, the museum acknowledges that there is a problem with nudity and that the naked human form is shameful and should be covered up.

The WSJ piece tells stories of when art featuring male nudes was censored by the Catholic Church or society. Centuries later, we still censoring them – does that sound logical to you?

What do you think? Should the museum have left the Naked Men posters uncovered? Or were they right when they chose to cover them up?

This article about the Naked Men Artwork which got Censored was published by – Young Naturists And Nudists America YNA

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Category: Censorship, Felicity's Nudist Blog, Naked News, Pinky Rants, Social Activism, Social Nudity Blogs

About the Author ()

Author of Felicity's Blog. Co-founder of Young Naturists America. 3rd-generation nudie. Avid reader. Feminist. 70% vegan, 30% vegetarian. When I'm not busy eating, I'm writing about naturism, censorship, topfree equality, body image and other fun topics. I like feedback, so plz leave a comment when you've got something to say!