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'Nude Men' art exhibition in Austria sparks conversation

October 18, 2012|By David Ng
  • An artwork titled "Mr. Big" by the Austrian artist Ilse Haider, on view outside of the Leopold Museum in Vienna. The museum is holding an exhibition dedicated to artistic depictions of male nudity, titled "Nackte Manner" ("Nude Men").
An artwork titled "Mr. Big" by the Austrian artist Ilse Haider,… (Alexander Klein / AFP/Getty…)

An art exhibition in Vienna titled "Nude Men" -- "Nackte Manner" in German -- is stimulating considerable media attention in Austria. The show, which opens this week at the Leopold Museum, is dedicated to depictions of male nudity from the 19th century to the present day, and includes paintings, sculpture, photographs and more.

The Leopold Museum is offering some of the artwork on its website. (Please note the images may be offensive for some readers.) On its exterior wall, the museum has put up a full-frontal image of a naked man created by Austrian artist Ilse Haider, "Mr. Big."

One of the items in the museum show has already proved controversial. A photograph by the French duo known as Pierre et Gilles shows three soccer players posing completely naked. The museum has been using the photograph in its advertising campaign, including posters around Vienna.

Reuters reported Wednesday the museum has decided to censor the photograph in certain ads after a number of complaints. The censored image will feature a red rectangle concealing the soccer players' genitalia.

The museum's catalog for the exhibition features the uncensored version of the photograph on its cover. 

A further sampling of the exhibition: a phallic sculpture by Louise Bourgeois titled "Fillette (Sweeter Version)"; a Bruce Nauman drawing depicting the outlines of five naked men called "Untitled (Five Marching Men)" and Andy Warhol's poster artwork for the Fassbinder movie "Querelle."

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