Vienna museums join OnlyFans after getting tired of ‘explicit’ artworks being censored online

Move comes in the backdrop of content from the museums being banned by social media firms

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 21 October 2021 11:19
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<p>File: This undated picture released on 28 February 2018 shows the hands of a person opening a box containing the ‘Venus of Willendorf’ figurine at the Nature Historical Museum, that was censored by Facebook</p>

File: This undated picture released on 28 February 2018 shows the hands of a person opening a box containing the ‘Venus of Willendorf’ figurine at the Nature Historical Museum, that was censored by Facebook

Tired of social media censorship, Vienna’s tourism board has taken a unique approach to showcasing some of the world’s most famous artwork at the city’s museums: offering up subscriptions on OnlyFans.

The move is a part of a campaign by the Vienna Tourist Board, which includes a number of the Austrian capital’s museums, called “Vienna strips on OnlyFans” that intends to promote artwork.

The move to take the artwork to OnlyFans comes in the backdrop of a slew of actions taken by social media firms, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, that have in the past banned content from the city’s museums.

Helena Hartlauer, a spokesperson for the board, told NBC News that while social media platforms are crucial to promote art and tourism, an algorithm determines what content can be seen, something that should “definitely not determine our cultural legacy.”

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In July, the Albertina Museum’s new TikTok account was suspended and then blocked for showing artwork by Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki that included a woman’s breast, according to several reports.

In 2019, Instagram removed a painting by Peter Paul Rubens claiming that it violated community standards.

In 2018, Facebook removed the Natural History Museum’s photograph of the Venus of Willendorf figurine, deeming it pornographic.

Ms Hartlauer told NPR that this kind of censorship can be frightening and harmful for artists.

“It might lead to some unconscious self censorship, when artists start to make art differently or collectors assemble their collections in a different way because they know a tool as strong as social media would not show or promote certain types of art.”

The tourism board’s account on the OnlyFans website said the account was created to give the artwork the freedom they deserve.

The account description also said the first subscribers would get a Vienna City Card or an admission ticket to see one of the featured artworks in person.

While the move is geared toward kickstarting a tourism industry that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Hartlauer told The Guardian that the goal was also to raise awareness about censorship that artists are facing on social media platforms.

OnlyFans, which describes itself as a platform to encourage all kinds of video content, became synonymous with sex work during the pandemic.

A decision in August to ban sexually exploitative content on the platform was reversed later after a pushback from artists and content creators.

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