International News Digest

MARCH 11

Der Spiegel took time to report on Facebook’s controversial decision to censor a nude photograph posted by the Jeu de Paume to promote the museum’s current retrospective of Laure Albin Guillot’s oeuvre. The offending black-and-white photograph, L’étude du nu (Nude Study), shows a woman in repose with her breasts exposed and her pubic area covered by a loincloth. In response to the posting, Facebook shut down the museum’s account for twenty-four hours. According to the AFP, a spokesperson for the museum responded, “Not to distinguish between a work of art and a picture with pornographic character is not only questionable, but a particularly dangerous mixup.” The museum’s account has since been reinstated by Facebook, which reposted the photo with a black bar censoring the sitter’s anatomical parts. The social network company responded that it was “sometimes difficult to distinguish between art and pornography,” and mistakes could not be avoided.

Der Spiegel also reported that thousands of protestors gathered in Berlin following the city council's decision to destroy a seventy-two-foot-wide section of the historic wall dividing East and West Berlin. The removal of this segment would allow proper space for construction of a new bridge. Opponents of the construction argued that a historic monument is being sacrificed to investors, while investors retorted that their interest is only in the financial growth of the economically downtrodden city. Protesters took to social media, tweeting and posting messages like “[I] can not imagine how the demolition of the wall can be justified. Seriously now––a Berlin without the wall,” and “It is a crazy world. Save [the wall]!”

Gareth Harris wrote in the Art Newspaper that the nonprofit organization Edge of Arabia, based in London and specializing in Middle Eastern art, will be expanding its operations, moving into a new 4,000-square-foot space in Battersea. “We want to create a hub for the growing Menasa [Middle East, North Africa, South Asia] arts community in London,” said Stephen Stapleton. In addition to cofounding Edge of Arabia, Stapleton also helped found the Crossway Foundation, which will share the space with the arts nonprofit.