Let Your Freak Flag Fly by Amy Fletcher

“If there are only a handful of acceptable ways to express yourself, no one is really expressing themselves at all.” — Jerry Saltz

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 11.32.52 AMNew York Magazine Senior Art Critic, Jerry Saltz, was kicked off of Instagram (and quickly reinstated) and, more recently and famously, Facebook. Why? He was posting Medieval Art and those that followed and sought him out on Facebook had his page flagged. He was censored.

A lot of the images he put up depicted nudes. Yes, naked people with no clothes on. These were images of famous paintings that showed decapitations, rapes, the plague. They were not pretty paintings.

He wrote on the website, Vulture:

“Flexibility is life, but lately I keep thinking that the art world has gotten a lot less flexible, and the freedom that I’ve always thought of as completely foundational — freedom to let our freak flags fly and express ourselves, even bizarrely — has constricted considerably.“

He has been reinstated on Facebook with all the privileges of any Facebook user and asks those that are “offended” to just stay away and don’t follow him.

How did we get so conservative in the art world? Why are people so offended when people choose to express themselves through art?

In response, I decided to create a Facebook Page dedicated to artists and non-artists to post nude self-portraits. It went live on July 14th, which just happens to be Bastille Day and National Nude Day—Vive La Nudité! All mediums are welcome except photography and video; Facebook would consider this pornography.

Self Portrait by Amy Fletcher at left and by Alice Neel at right

Self Portrait by Amy Fletcher at left and by Alice Neel at right

An article in the Guardian states:

When it comes to nudity, Facebook apologizes in its guidelines for policies that “can sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes” due to its desire to maintain uniform policies across the world.

“We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures.”

As the person who created the Nude Self Portrait Art Facebook page, I was the first to post my nude self-portrait. The banner image is by Alice Neel, who painted herself in all her old age glory; sags, bags, droops and all. It is one of the best self-portraits ever made, in my opinion. It is raw and real, not fancy and hyper-realistic, but still not so simplistic that one cannot wonder how she was able to capture herself so well in that very moment. I love her for this painting, for her honesty and her bravery. She set the bar high.

Facebook would not let me use the word nude in the link to the page. My father suggested to change the spelling to newd and it worked. Here is the link.

I hope you will help me, fellow artists and non-artists, to express yourself and keep art uncensored. Yes, let you freak flag fly, if you wish! I will applaud and support you!

Posted by: Trudy Thomson at 1:52 pm 0 Comments

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