Just a few days back, I received an invitation via e-mail to join the website Artreview.com. After having a quick browse of the site, I decided why not. The site describes itself as follows:-
“artreview.com is an exciting new social networking site for the artworld, creating a global forum for discussion, interactivity and debate.
Our members are artists, galleries, collectors, critics, curators and the curious. As a members of artreview.com, you can:
- Post artwork, blogs, videos and audio and have members rate and comment on it
- Find exciting new artists from around the world
- Sniff through last night’s party pics and post your own
- Keep up to date with news and access ArtReview magazine archives
- Find the galleries that represent the artists with ArtFinder
- Create your own discussion groups and forums
- Promote yourself and make friends
artreview.com is a unique blend of editorial and community content, combining the insight and critical weight of some of today’s most important artworld voices with the input and opinions of everyday enthusiasts from around the world. artreview.com lets the artworld do the talking.”
I signed-up online as required, and spent quite some time diligently completing the various fields of information, profile, etc. They also have an image upload option, whereby you can bulk upload images, so I just took a block of images that I currently have with my galleries, and dropped them in the upload box. Whilst uploading, I received several friend requests and even a few positive comments on my work from fellow members. I even added a few friends myself, a couple of which I already know through other such sites.
A short time later, whilst my image uploads were still in progress, I received an e-mail informing me I had been banned from the site ! I then received a subsequent e-mail, informing me of the following:-
We do not like to have purely erotic images such as yours on artreview.com; it’s not the kind of atmosphere we want to cultivate. Please remove your all images containing nudity immediately or unfortunately we will have to ban you from the site.
1 Sekforde Street
London EC1R 0BE
T: +44 (0) 20 7107 2770
F: +44 (0) 20 7107 2761
M: +44 (0) 7894 731890″
It was rather strange that I received the message only after I had already been banned, but I found it even more strange that a UK website proclaiming itself to be “an exciting new social networking site for the artworld, creating a global forum for discussion, interactivity and debate“, does not allow nudity ?
I immediately sent an e-mail to Mr. James Westcott, expressing in no uncertain terms my dissatisfaction, and enquiring as to how an artist such as myself could have been invited to join his site at the outset, when my main-stream subject matter is art-nude and erotic-nude, both genre having full and total recognition within the art world ? Mr. Westcott replied accordingly:-
We don’t allow such explicit nudity on the site. I can unban you from the site if you agree to only post images without nudity.
Of course, it is somewhat of a problem for an artist such as myself to post works with no nudity, when my work is primarily that ! I did however agree to post no images if he lifted the ban, simply to allow me to express my views within the Blog section of the site, but needless to say, the ban remains !
I am thus making this posting in my principal Blog here at Absolute Arts, together with other public meeting sites, as I believe such restrictive practises can only be damaging to the art-world, which should pride itself in being democratic and as free as possible from censorship, especially by somebody who proclaims to be representing the art-world itself. It’s also interesting to note that the terms and conditions of artreview.com as published on their website, don’t seem to make any reference whatsoever to nudity being prohibited ?
It’s rare indeed that I take the time to publish anything of this nature, but I feel most strongly that artreview.com and Mr. James Westcott are not at all legitimately representative of the art-world. I have requested a more detailed clarification from Mr. Westcott, but he has elected to ignore me. I think that says it all !