Mind the gap, not the breasts… London Underground museaum ad causes stir

February 14, 2008 · Print This Article

16th Century Nude Art Painting

A 16th century nude painting of the Roman goddess Venus has been banned from being part of the ad campaign for London’s Royal Academy of Arts upcoming exhibition on 16th century German painter and printmaker Lucas Cranach the Elder. Officials are banning it for fear it’s “exhibitionist” qualities could cause offense.

The promotional poster which was set to be displayed in the London Underground train system had transportation officials concerned since:

“Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day, and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there,”

“We have to take into account the full range of travellers [sic British] and endeavour [sic more British] not to cause offence [sic my god can’t the British spell in English….. yes I know it’s an off colour joke] in the adverts we display.”

According to the London Underground, the poster breached its guidelines against ads that depict individuals “in a sexual manner or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overly sexual context.”

A Royal Academy spokesman expressed disappointment with the decision and said that “if we thought [the painting] was offensive, we wouldn’t have put it forward.”

However, the gallery will likely have to pick a new image if transport officials do not reconsider their decision, he added.

The ban also drew fire from British politician John Whittingdale, who called the ban “bonkers,” according to the BBC.

Whittingdale, chair of the U.K. House of Commons select committee on culture, media and sport, also urged Underground officials to “think again” in regards to the poster.

The Royal Academy’s exhibit opens March 8 for a three-month run.

3 Responses to “Mind the gap, not the breasts… London Underground museaum ad causes stir”

  1. Also in Mini-News:

    NEW YORK. US dealers are admitting to sluggish sales, hesitant clients and canceled deals amid continuing financial market woes, which last month saw America’s largest bank, Citigroup, post a $9.8bn fourth-quarter loss.

    “Nobody wants to say the sky is falling but perception affects every market and clearly, we are entering a new period in the economy,” said Martha Fleischman, president of Kennedy Galleries. “The people who see art as part of their portfolio and like to flip will get an education very quickly this year,” she added.

    “There are more dealers hanging on by their fingernails but no-one will go on the record,” said a prominent art world public relations expert who did not want to be named. “Everyone is wondering if the downturn will be just like 9/11,” she added.

  2. Update: London Officials Retract Ban after Media Attention.

    from CBC News:

    Transport officials in London, England, have reversed a decision to ban a poster displaying a 16th-century painting of the goddess Venus from the city’s Underground train system because it was too sexual.

    The poster advertises a show at the Royal Academy of Arts of works by Lucas Cranach the Elder that’s due to open March 8.

    “Given huge volumes of advertising that we carry, we won’t get it right every time,” a spokesman for Transport for London announced over the weekend.

    Transport for London runs the city’s public transport system.

    “On reflection in this context, the Cranach exhibition poster should not have been rejected and we’ve now approved the advertisement to be carried on the Tube.”

    Officials had originally said the poster breached their guidelines, which bars ads that “depict men, women or children in a sexual manner, or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overtly sexual context.”

    “We have to take into account the full range of travellers and endeavour not to cause offence in the adverts we display,” said a statement released earlier this week.

    The academy had said it would seek another image to advertise the show but also said, through a spokesman, that “if we thought [the painting] was offensive, we wouldn’t have put it forward.”

    John Whittingdale, chair of the U.K. House of Commons select committee on culture, media and sport, had called the decision “bonkers.”

  3. i wish they’d give me all the posters that they didn’t put up.

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