Showing some skin and is there a point to social media?

You have to hand it to the d’Orsay Museum in Paris. They know how to titillate the senses and draw the crowds with promotional material that whets the appetite and borders skittishly on the pornographic. Check out this commissioned video to promote their upcoming show inspired by the Marquis de Sade (whose erotic writings gave birth to the term sadism). Watch the 60-second video – it’s glorious!


The d’Orsay Museum is not averse to controversial art. Several years ago, I spent six weeks at the d’Orsay Museum in Paris as the first authorized copyist of one of the most iconic erotic paintings in the history of art – Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (1866) . During my stint as a copyist I also filmed the highlights of one of my days copying what is essentially a close-up, peep-show view of a woman’s vagina.

Speaking with a visitor a the d'Orsay Museum during my stint as a copyist
Speaking with a visitor a the d’Orsay Museum during my stint as a copyist

I’m proud to announce that this documentary will be screened later this month at the Institut Courbet in Ornans, France to coincide with their annual copyist week in honor of Gustave Courbet. This is a huge validation of my work, and I feel quite excited about this exposure (no pun intended!). However, I was positively speechless when I found out that a trailer for my documentary had amassed close to 1,500,000 views (that’s right – one and a half million views) on the The Great Nude website that focuses exclusively on the nude in figurative art.

After feeling giddy about these statistics for a full ten minutes, I came down to earth when I realized that nothing actually resulted from all those views. Even if we dismiss one million of the views as voyeuristic lechers, out of the remaining five hundred thousand viewers you might think there would be one or two art critics, or gallerists or artists who might have contacted me with some exciting creative proposal. Nada. Not a one. Which begs the question – is there really a point to social media? So what if a gaggle of people have viewed the video? Does exposure really lead to anything concrete or positive? Maybe I’m missing the point. Love to hear from you.

For more about my work with L’Origine du monde click here.

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7 thoughts on “Showing some skin and is there a point to social media?

  1. Lynn October 11, 2014 / 7:28 pm

    Well, I hope that you hear from someone of substance. One never knows where anything can lead. If it leads nowhere than where it has to date, the experience was a terrific one, so net gain, right? I have always joked that if I wanted more exposure, I could strip and run down a highway. That would certainly get me exposure, but not necessarily sell my art. Onward and upward, my friend. Good things will always come your way.

    • liliannemilgrom October 11, 2014 / 8:33 pm

      Hmm…running naked down the highway. That certainly would be one way to get attention….!

  2. David.R.Quammen@gmail.com October 11, 2014 / 8:49 pm

    I think it would be difficult to project anything concerning art of the nude human form posts you might get to this, primarily because your audience is probably either artists or those engaged in some form of art or art appreciation. But I do have some experience with the general reaction of people to the exposure of the nude human form based on operating an art gallery for 9 years (MOCA DC) where I had 3 exhibits a year focused on nude art in many forms, hosting a weekly open drawing session featuring nude models and other events with nudes being body painted, or even serving as statues or otherwise participating in Opening Receptions or other events at the gallery. While I don’t have any statistics on the reaction to these things, I did develop a positive reputation for the events, all of which were well attended, as well as a negative reputation from the very conservative population in the greater DC region.

    I have to admit that at least part of my reason in presenting these variations on a theme of nudity was an in-your-face confrontation to what I consider prudish attitudes about nudity in the arts, in general, perhaps going a bit overboard in some of the things I did there. I have no regrets, however, since it did result in developing many friendships with like-minded individuals, including yourself. I have to say that you are among the most talented and diverse artists I have met, and appreciate knowing you and sharing some of your various ventures in the art world. Kudos to you – your energy is amazing, as are your various talents.

    • liliannemilgrom October 11, 2014 / 9:03 pm

      Thanks, Dave. You really did stand behind your conviction that the nude is not something to ashamed of but rather, to be celebrated. For this we will always be grateful to you.

  3. Jeffrey Wiener October 11, 2014 / 10:23 pm

    What does it mean??? A lot of things actually. First, I’d like to focus on the larger picture here, that Lilianne is part of a larger trend of people using the internet to express (or view, or search) for things they are interested in, and the trend towards HUMAN AGGREGATION online, of LIKE-MINDED peoples. People search for this work, and find it online in this form.

    Second, consider that Lilianne’s video’s 1.5million views is part of the larger ecosystem of a website dedicated to figurative arts. The 10 Million Views that TheGreatNude.TV has aggregated onto its YouTube Channel is only one channel. We haven’t mentioned Vimeo, of Facebook, or the website, which has been running for over 8 years now, accumulating visitors. (Reading some of Lilianne’s articles from way back when, perhaps?)

    Third… It means that LILIANNE has been imprinted on that many people, through the use of new technology. And I would bet that if you told Courbet that he could have his work seen by millions of people, he would have jumped at the chance. (Which is funny when you consider the secretive nature of the commission of L’Origine, and use of a new technology, and the illicit photo that inspired it.)

    BTW, Artists should be active across ALL new technologies, because that is where the people are. We need to be speaking amongst them.

    • liliannemilgrom October 11, 2014 / 10:25 pm

      Thanks, Jeff. You certainly answered with some great points I had not thought about. And yes, Gustave probably would be tickled pink…

  4. climbrick October 17, 2014 / 8:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Naked Artist Group and commented:
    This blog post is full of thought! I hope a few art critics find and read it! Oh, and the museum “trailer” is awesome!

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