Nude vs. Naked: Art Critic Jerry Saltz Got Banned from Facebook

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If art is meant to provoke a response, why did infamous art critic Jerry Saltz get banned from Facebook? Is there a line between nude images vs. naked? ( photo)
If art is meant to provoke a response, why did infamous art critic Jerry Saltz get banned from Facebook? Is there a line between nude images vs. naked? ( photo)

Well, let’s just start with this one:

That’s a retweet of a painting by artist Carie Musick — and there are many, many more like that on Jerry Saltz’s various social media accounts. Saltz, (in)famous art critic for New York magazine was kicked off Facebook earlier this month for numerous complaints over the art he was posting to his page. Apparently, some people out there ventured to his page, were disgusted by the art they saw and stayed on his page to further form solid opinions on that art, investigate the complaint process and then filed a complaint, rather than, say, surf away to something else. Because, you know, an art critic’s social media page has to be the most offensive thing on the Internet. Saltz posted his reply on his Twitter page:

Maybe proof read that first? Or come up with a second draft?

As for the art Saltz references, he does post rather risqué, sometimes sexually explicit and often hilarious images from the ancient and medieval realms, bucking the misconception that the latter’s idea of art was Christianity or nothing. Here are a couple of Saltz postings, one from his Twitter page, the other from Instagram:

Oh Jerry. . .
Oh, Jerry …

Well, Saltz appears to be back on Facebook now. And his profile picture is just Saltz posing with former president Bill Clinton. How wholesome, right? Clinton was never in the headlines for being sexually this or that. Over the episode, Saltz told The New York Times that “a lot of people are taking their energy to police other people’s energy, and I find that a bit perverted — to enforce your morality on someone else …”

Is Facebook being prudish? Where is the line twixt nudity and naked images? What about bad taste? I’m guessing that this was more or less an episode of an oversees programmer with different ideas of art, nudity and expression that banned Saltz. 

But let’s take another look at Saltz’s Instagram page (which you should be following). There are some very impressive works on there from new and emerging artists. I mean, who wouldn’t want this portrait of Bill Murray hanging in their home?

Arguably the images like the ones highlighted above are few and far between, but has Saltz crossed the line at times? Oh, yes — no question. Just click here (NSFW). It is posting like that one that had Artnet posting an article with the headline reading: “Jerry Saltz Got Banned from Facebook — About Time.” The article does go on to say that “it looks like we’ll all just have to live with the cruel fate of a Saltz-less Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, can you hear our cries of agony?” 

That last NSFW post is clearly meant to provoke a response, but isn’t all art supposed to do that? And doesn’t Facebook have to right to say, nope, that’s a little uncool without having the censorship label hung on them? In any case, maybe Saltz will be more careful about what he posts now.

Brock Thompson is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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