'Sexually sick' Fox News covers up breasts and genitals in Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers

Painting sold for record $179 million (£114 million) at Christie's in New York

Art experts have become the latest group to be offended by Fox News, after the US broadcaster covered up the depiction of women’s breasts and genitals in a report on the sale of a Pablo Picasso masterpiece.

The Women of Algiers (Version O) became the most expensive painting sold at auction on Monday when it went for $179 million (£114 million) at Christie’s in New York.

But in reporting on the setting of this new world record, someone in the Fox newsroom apparently decided that life painting was in fact offensive or sexual rather than simply artistic. Three sets of breasts were blurred out in the report, while other bits deemed too rude by Fox were covered by the strategically-placed Fox News strapline.

Jerry Saltz, a senior critic at the New York magazine, wrote on Twitter that the decision to blur parts of the masterpiece betrayed the “sick minds” of those reporting. “How sexually sick are conservatives and Fox News?” he said.

The artist and author Gonzalo W Benard said it was “pathetic”, while art writer Aruna D’Souza said sarcastically: “Glad Fox News is protecting its audience from Picasso’s smutty mind.” Another Twitter user commented with the hashtag “#FreeTheNipple”.

The sale on Monday also featured Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture Pointing Man, which sold for $141m, earning it the title of most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction.

Neither the buyers of the Picasso nor the Giacometti sculpture were revealed to the public – though one Fox presenter helpfully speculated that “they’re probably Chinese – that’s my bet”.

The Associated Press said Women of Algiers, once owned by the American collectors Victor and Sally Ganz, was inspired by Picasso's fascination with the 19th-century French artist Eugene Delacroix.

It was part of a 15-work series Picasso created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A through O, and has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.

Comments