BY Frieze News Desk in News | 22 OCT 19

Instagram in Talks with Artists Over Nudity Policy

In further news: ancient artefacts destroyed by jihadists resurrected; naked activists protest National Portrait Gallery’s links to BP

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 22 OCT 19

Photographer Spencer Tunick stages one of his large scale group nude shoots in New York City, 2019, photograph. Courtesy: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Instagram has held a closed-door discussion in New York over its current moderation policies regarding nudity and artworks. The private roundtable, first reported by ArtNews, invited artists and museum workers, following several campaigns which have accused the social media platform of censorship. Members of the press were not invited and discussants were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. Artists who attended the discussion included Micol Hebron, Marilyn Minter and Joanne Leah. ‘They have concerns about photographs being pornographic,’ Leah told ArtNews. ‘But, I think they are completely eliminating photography as an art form.’ It is yet unclear whether the meetings will lead to defined policy changes. A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, described the talks as ‘the start of a conversation between us and the art community’.

Ancient artefacts destroyed by jihadists in Iraq have been resurrected. Two gigantic Assyrian half-lion, half-bird monuments, called lamassu, were smashed by Isis in the city of Mosul. Now a team led by British and Spanish experts have created exact replicas of lamassu which stand in London’s British Museum, and will restore them in Mosul. The sculptures originated from the throne room of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE). The new monuments have been built out of stucco marble, coated in wax to match the original colours. ‘The point has been to use 21st-century technology to restore some of the damage of war,’ Adam Lowe of the Spanish restoration organisation Factum Foundation told The Times.

On Sunday, semi-naked activists from Extinction Rebellion drenched themselves in fake oil and staged a protest at the National Portrait Gallery in London, protesting the institution’s sponsorship links with BP. Activists covered in black liquid lay on the ground in the gallery’s Ondaatje Wing main hall, in which pieces sponsored by BP are on display. Visitors to the gallery reportedly applauded the action. One campaigner called on arts organizations to sever ties with companies ‘funding extinction’.

In further news: Polly Staple has been named director of collection, British Art at London’s Tate Britain, beginning in the role in January 2020 – Staple was previously director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery, and prior to that, director of Frieze Projects and editor at large of frieze magazine; the France-based Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, a founding member of the Xiamen Dada group, has died at 65 – the dealer Kamel Mennour, who represented the artist, described him as ‘a giant of the avant-garde, a father figure for generations of artists and thinkers […] He opened up the delicate path of the dialogue between worlds with intact engagement and philosophical view on the world’s turbulences’; and Beijing’s ‘experimental storefront art space’ Arrow Factory has closed its doors after more than 11 years – in a statement, Arrow Factory said that top-down policies ‘disguised as ‘neighbourhood improvements’ that would slowly asphyxiate our hutong’ had made their continued existence untenable: ‘It has been nothing short of a small miracle that Arrow Factory lasted this long, especially in a city that has witnessed such extreme transformations as Beijing has in these past ten years.’