Viennese museum succeeds with nudity ‘scandal’ exhibit

One of Austria’s most renowned museums is hosting an exhibition focusing on a topic which has been neglected for some time: naked men.

“Nackte Männer. Von 1800 bis heute” (Nude Men. From 1800 to the present day) features around 300 paintings, sculptures and photographic installations. Organisers considered works by Peter Paul Rubens, Paul Cezanne, August Rodin, Edvard Munch, Maria Lassnig and many others for the acclaimed exhibit which is currently drawing the crowds at the Leopold Museum ( The artistic works are on display rather thematically arranged than chronologically – an aspect which demands the beholders’ attentiveness.

“Nackte Männer” does not try to cause public outcry as it rather analyses than scandalises the matter. However, there has been some controversy concerning a poster campaign. The Leopold Museum chose “Vive la France”, a photograph by French duo Pierre & Gilles to make aware of the current exhibition. The photograph shows three naked men, and its creators have emphasised that they wanted to highlight the positive aspects of multiculturalism in their homeland’s society. Those in charge at the Viennese museum eventually decided to cover up the muscle mountains’ penises. Some of the posters on display across the city were replaced with a painting by Egon Schiele.

“Nackte Männer” is not the only special exhibition currently on display at the museum which is located in Vienna-Neubau’s Museumsquartier (MQ). Another part of the Leopold Museum is dedicated to an exhibit called “Japan. Fragilität des Daseins” (Japan – Fragility of Existence). The exhibition includes ink paintings, calligraphy and colour woodcuts.

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