OH DE LAVAL, Albumcover painting for Kali Uchis (2021)
Digital networks, under pressure from governments but also very often from their advertisers, find themselves in a position regarding contemporary art that is not so different from that of the corporate foundations that sponsor the discipline. Especially when it comes to nudes. The rules concerning the representation of nude subjects vary from one gender to another, from one network to another, and from one moment to another, as regulations and algorithms evolve. Nudes in artworks are fiercely opposed when they are photographic, such as Lisa Yuskavage's Self portrait with 2 nudes on Instagram in June 2021, and are less predictably censored when it comes to painting or sculpture.
We note that the older the work the better in terms of not being censored. Eventually, the digital networks censorshing tends to mimic its ancester from the Victorian era: yes to the antic and mythological nudes, no to the contemporary ones, especially if the exhibited nipple is female.
For our first selection, the most ridiculous case comes to us from Spotify's reaction to the painting of Oh de Laval that was chosen to cover the album To Feel Alive by American artist Kali Uchis
Oh de Laval, a Warsaw-born artist living in Manchester UK, made a painting whose subject has been quite a classic for centuries.
On a huge round and pink sofa bed in a luxury bedroom, two naked young women indulge in Sapphic pleasures between two glasses of champagne, in complete ignorance or contempt for what the viewer can see happening outside: the city is on fire.
Alas, Spotify would have none of it and decided to pixelate the whole of the two bodies, transforming them into a shapeless pink blob.