Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Porn or art is a problem.

“If it’s art, don’t code it, if it’s pornography, don’t spread it (publicly)”, this is a common voice on the Internet. But what is art and pornography, it is difficult to have a clear standard to distinguish them.

A naked classical sculpture photo and a sexy anime second creation painting may be turned into a gray picture full of Logo by touching the red line of the social platform for review. But on another platform, or even a different partition of the same platform, these pictures can be displayed in full.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

The gray watermark used to indicate “banned” is often used in social media as a standard to prove that the image is “capable”

Between pornography and art, even on the same platform, it is impossible to draw a black-and-white dividing line. However, Pornhub, the most well-known pornography website in the world, is trying to give its own answers in the form of an online art gallery.

1. In the name of art

On July 13, Pornhub launched an online art gallery called “Classic Nudes”.

Like all online museums launched during the epidemic, Pornhub’s online art museum also met all the needs of visitors as much as possible. Here, you can see the high-definition pictures of the painting collection, and you can hear the audio explanation of the collection information. Even the specific location of the collection in the museum has been carefully marked by Pornhub.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

The first batch of exhibits at the event came from six world-class museums, including the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of England, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The collections on display all have nude elements, and are closely linked to Pornhub’s old business. But this is still not enough. In order to be more interested in its user community, Pornhub has made this online art museum a little bit different.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

From color scheme to font, the style of this website is very different from Pornhub

Pornhub did not copy the official text of the background introduction of the famous paintings on the website, but re-written all of them. Only after Pornhub’s re-interpretation, these introductions to the works and authors have become more grounded, with a touch of “local characteristics”.

At the end of the information about Jan Gesalt’s painting “Adam and Eve”, the introduction wrote: “Because of this most famous biblical story, the apple has often become a symbol of temptation, desire and sex. But we have always believed that the banana It’s the sexiest fruit.” With the voice-over commentary of the actress, the commentary is full of provocative meaning, and the atmosphere of appreciating art is immediately no longer serious.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Renaissance painter Jan Gesalt’s masterpiece “Adam and Eve” (partially excerpted)

In addition to audio guides, Pornhub also launched a “video guide” with video authors on the platform. Based on the content of several well-known works, they deduce the follow-up plot shooting, in their words, it is to restore the viewer’s “dirty reverie”.

These videos are not only an extension of the paintings, but the state of the characters and the style of the pictures are also restored as much as possible. Only from the freeze frame, it has quite the charm of the original.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Edgar Degas’s “Male Nude” (left, partly intercepted) and a video remake of Pornhub (right)

From these perspectives alone, Pornhub’s popularization of world famous paintings is quite in place. The method is indeed more radical and avant-garde, but it accurately captures the pain points of the users. More importantly, they have also been rigorous in introducing the paintings themselves.

“To stimulate the public to visit, explore and fall in love with or desire these cultural institutions again” is Pornhub’s explanation of the original intention of this event. They hope that this form of promotion will help museums that have been trapped in the epidemic to recover as soon as possible.

However, these museums do not appreciate it. They were contacted by the museum shortly after the website went live, but Pornhub was greeted not with a thank-you letter, but with a complaint.

2. This is not art

The Uffizi Gallery in Italy was the first to attack and protest to Pornhub. A few days after they went online on the website, they sent a strong-worded email to the other party, stating that they had hired a lawyer in response to the matter and would take legal measures against the “unwelcome use” of the paintings in the collection.

In Italian law, the commercial use of cultural heritage requires authorization from the owner, and the owner also has the right to prevent disputed use. Obviously, Pornhub’s “propaganda” of these works of art failed to be recognized by the Uffizi Gallery. In the eyes of the Uffizi Museum, the whole event is just a commercial promotion by Pornhub itself, not to help them in the museum, let alone art.

Painter Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” is the most important work mentioned in this statement. Because Pornhub not only provided it with an explicit commentary, but also asked the porn star Cicciolina to film and restore the scene in the painting, making it into a promotional film criticized as “vulgar”.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Although the Cicciolina in the film is not naked as in the picture, but is dressed in flesh-colored clothing

Faced with the menacing accountability of the Uffizi Museum, Pornhub did not respond too much, and quickly subdued all related content. Immediately after the Louvre in Paris and the Prado Museum in Madrid, similar protests were also made, so Pornhub also took off the entire collection of these two museums.

However, the attitude of the museum is not uniform.

“The museum’s open access program allows the public to access hundreds of thousands of images of our works. We usually don’t regulate the way they are used.” The Metropolitan Museum of New York responded to this event in this way. The National Gallery of the United Kingdom stated that they did not formally cooperate with Pornhub and would not help publicize the event but would not prosecute. The Musée d’Orsay, which is across the river from the Louvre, did not choose to keep pace with the big brother Louvre this time, and remained silent.

In the end, after 6 museums expressed their opinions, only the display pages of 3 museums remained in this online art gallery. In order to avoid more troubles, Pornhub also deleted the second-generation porn videos taken for the collections of the three museums.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Some people are eager to draw a clear line with pornography, and some have acquiesced to the propaganda of the world’s largest pornography website for themselves. The different reactions of several museums, to a certain extent, just represent the different attitudes of the traditional art world. Regarding the relationship between pornography and art, the debate has not stopped since ancient times. A famous painting that has been carefully cared for in a museum is most likely a color map that was criticized by word of mouth many years ago.

3. Multi-color pictures of famous paintings since ancient times

In the early 20th century, the leader of the Viennese Secessionist Gustav Klimt, the master of symbolism who was famous for his “gold leaf painting” in China, was once called a “sexist.”

He was commissioned by the University of Vienna to draw three paintings, named “Philosophy”, “Medicine” and “Law”, but they were strongly opposed by the corresponding disciplines. They jointly protested publicly, denounced the content of the paintings as blasphemy of their discipline, accused Klimt of spreading pornography, and demanded that the state eradicate these “shameful pornographic murals.”

Although these works escaped at the time, they were still destroyed in the hands of the Nazis many years later, and they still became a great regret in the art world.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

From left to right are “Philosophy”, “Medicine” and “Law”

Also once criticized, there are many Japanese Ukiyo-e masters. Katsushika Hokusai, Kitagawa Umata, and Utagawa Hiroshige have painted many erotic themed Ukiyo-e. And compared to the obscure Western works, these works called “spring paintings” are more explicit.

Katsushika Hokusai’s artistic achievements have been recognized and inherited all over the world, but the famous “Octopus and the Sea Girl” in his picture book will still be a key banned work even today.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

“Octopus and Sea Girl” (partially intercepted), the caption of the picture book is more indescribable than the very explicit picture

At this point, the attitude of the Japanese is extremely confusing. You can buy pornographic magazines in convenience stores. It is well known that the sale of pornographic works is legal in Japan. But works of art with the same theme are difficult to be accepted by the museums here.

In 2013, the British Museum held a painting exhibition titled “Spring Painting: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art”. While Europeans lamented the degree of openness in Japanese art, they did not know that the same exhibition two years later could not find a large art museum in Japan that could accept it.

In the end, after several rounds, Yongqing Wenku Art Museum hosted the exhibition, but it still failed to conduct large-scale publicity. Even the three magazines that carried out related reports were sued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for attaching pictures of the paintings. The editor-in-chief of “Weekly Bunchun” was also given a “compulsory rest” for this.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

There are many such examples. “Hellers and the Water God” was removed by the Manchester Art Gallery for “pornography”, and the Danish national treasure statue of the Little Mermaid was judged to be “naked” by Facebook. The discussion about the boundaries of pornography and art continues to this day, and with the development of social media, it is becoming more heated.

4. Blurred lines

For the discussants, no matter how intense the debate is, it may not be necessary to give an answer in the end. But the platform is different. Whether a naked picture is displayed or not is a black and white judgment. Even if it is difficult to entangle it, it must be answered. The controversy was born from this.

In 2011, a teacher in France was banned for posting pictures of Gustave Courbet’s “The Origin of the World” on his Facebook account. But he didn’t think there was anything wrong with his sharing of art, so he filed a lawsuit in court, asking Facebook to reactivate his account and compensate 20,000 euros for the loss.

This dispute has lasted for many years. In 2018, a Paris court ruled that Facebook’s ban on the teacher’s account was illegal, but he did not have to compensate him. The teacher still insisted on appealing. It was not until 2019 that the two parties reconciled in the form of donating compensation to the art organization, ending the eight-year case.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

“The Origin of the World” is a painting that directly focuses on the private parts of women. It is really inexhaustible. I will replace it with a photo of the author Gustave Courbet.

On a platform like Facebook that prohibits the dissemination of adult content, the continuous optimization of algorithms and increased investment in audits still cannot prevent the mislabeling of “The Little Mermaid” and “The Origin of the World.” The boundary between pornography and art is never a line, but a broad gray area.

As the slogan of Pornhub’s promotional video for this event said: “The best erotic works can never be seen on Pornhub. You can only find them in museums.” Although some museums try to distinguish between pornography, they also It cannot be denied that lust is still an important motif in art history.

It is difficult for Facebook to make accurate and efficient judgments in this fuzzy gray. They need to refer to the aesthetic level, cultural environment, and moral standards to make judgments, but these auxiliary lines are also vague, and they may even change continuously with the individual, the era, and the situation in which they are located.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Whenever a social media tightens its pornographic standards, it will receive a large number of negative reviews from users

When a nudity picture is shared on a social network in an attitude of praying for appreciation, it is difficult to guarantee how thousands of strangers who see it will view it. The many incidents exposed on the Internet have proved that its dark side is far more filthy than we thought. The incident in Room N in South Korea, the New York Times author Ji Sidao’s “Child Destroyed by Pornhub,” and so on.

Is it for the sake of art to relax the criteria, or to tighten it for the disadvantaged? Regarding the best position of this line, I don’t think the current Facebook can give an answer, nor can the rapidly evolving Internet. We all need to do more to answer the question of “Is it pornography or art?”

5. Conclusion

As for the protagonist Pornhub this time, he undoubtedly received another good public opinion campaign. From shooting equal rights-themed videos, to sending free members to users in the epidemic, to removing most of the videos to eliminate illegal adult content, and finally to helping the museum to promote freely, Pornhub has always established an image in the hearts of netizens at home and abroad. good.

In this event, in order to neutralize the white gaze of the famous paintings, they also set up a special channel called “Another Perspective”, showing Tang Bohu’s erotic pictures and other works of art that represent China, Japan, India and the black community. .

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

Picture of Erotica drawn by Tang Bohu (partially cut)

But at the same time we also need to remember that Pornhub drastically removed 10 million videos from the site, not because Ji Sidao’s articles shook the dirty ground that they were hiding, and let their conscience discover it; it was Visa and MasterCard. After the two companies announced that they would cease cooperation, commercial pressure was imposed.

As a commercial pornography website, Pornhub is still groping for the boundaries of its own content, and there is no doubt that it has not been able to answer the question “Is it pornography or art”. The lust lasts forever, this is the only thing they have proved, but there is no need to prove it.

The propaganda film they filmed for “A Tribute to Art” was taken off the entire network, and the propaganda for the art world was also a mess. But fortunately, half of the museums still acquiesced to their attempts, allowing the project itself to be a form close to performance art, adding a new brick to the discussion of the problem.

Pornhub launched an online art gallery

When Pornhub’s online art museum was just announced, they promised that if the first batch of six museums are well publicized, they will also cooperate with more museums. But judging from the current results, there may be no more follow-up updates.

But what is certain is that the Internet’s answer to “Is it pornography or art” will inevitably continue.


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