This squirrel with his tongue sticking out at the camera seems more amused by my presence than threatened
by it. It could be said that the same attitude is happening with Jerry Salazar the now Facebook famous art critic of New York Magazine.
Mr. Salazar is a noted art critic in the New York art world and as his job suggests, he has found that there are many people whom are not looking out for his personal welfare. His recent claim to fame is that he is now suspended from Facebook for complaints regarding his posting of some pornographic artworks. Well, that’s not quite fair really.
When one envisions the term pornographic a whole deluge of rather vulgar, profane, and even down right shocking images of naked bodies comes to mind. But that is not what happened. Before I read the article from the New York Times about his inappropriate online behavior, I admit I expected to see the personal fall and end of a career for an established professional in his field.
What met my gaze was rather shocking, but not for the reasons you may think. The images he showed and published are mainly from medieval manuscripts, Egyptian tomb scenes and the now notoriously amorous ancient roman brothels. I became confused.
What is this? Has Facebook lost all sense of reason? A man who is a notorious member of the New York art scene gets sacked off Facebook because he posted pictures that are found in art history and archaeology books? Really?
Digging a little deeper on Mr. Salazar’s twitter feed, I looked for the possible reason for Facebook’s issue. The fact that his Facebook account has experienced a mass outpouring of support from his fans to the point of one not really being able to get a grip on the truth behind the article did not help. In any case, I went to Twitter and if Mr. Salazar’s twitter account is an indicative of what was originally discovered on his Facebook page I can understand why Facebook acted the way it did. Not all the pictures posted were necessarily ancient or even of historical context nor used in an educational context.
No, it seems Mr. Salazar did not use the pictures in a historical or educational manner but rather in a satirical commentary pointing fingers and ruffling feathers at the art establishment. Finally, someone got his or her underwear twisted and complained. Facebook investigated and bam. Suspension. Mr. Salazar has even admitted that some of the pictures even bothered him. Why then post?
Now, it may seem that I’m condemning him and taking the side of Facebook. I’m not. While it’s true I find some of the images used outside of the historical artistic context to be of a dubious taste, I also see the side of his fans who claim that whomever complained should have just unfollowed him and left it at that. While self-imposed censorship might be a suggestively wise move when it comes to artwork such as this, the use of corporate censorship is just not needed.
It is interesting to note that by creating his little commentaries and satiric uses of historical art to satisfy his own purpose he has, perhaps unwittingly, stepped into the realm of the satiric artist. It is now his “work” and it’s meaning being criticized on a larger stage. I imagine going from the critic to the critiqued must be a bitter pill to swallow.
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