L.A. Artist's 37-Year-Old Nudity Too Much For YouTube

By Tom Christie

Susan Mogul's landmark 1973 video, "Dressing Up," has been taken down by YouTube censors. The video, which was posted on YouTube by Mogul's Chinatown gallery, Jancar Gallery, features a nude Mogul putting on underwear and clothing, while chewing on a carrot and casually discussing each piece. The video, "a sort of reverse strip-tease," had been up on YouTube since 2009, says Tom Jancar, and had hundreds of hits.

But on Monday morning, it was gone. Jancar received this message: "The following video(s) from your account have been disabled for violation of the YouTube Community Guidelines." A link provides those guidelines:

"YouTube is not for pornography or sexually explicit content. If this describes your video, even if it's a video of yourself, don't post it on YouTube." Under a subtitle, Sex and Nudity, there's more: "Most nudity is not allowed, particularly if it is in a sexual context. Generally if a video is intended to be sexually provocative, it is less likely to be acceptable for YouTube. There are exceptions for some educational, documentary and scientific content, but only if that is the sole purpose of the video and it is not gratuitously graphic. For example, a documentary on breast cancer would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the documentary might not be."

Jancar, who notes that Mogul is "doing everything possible not to be sexy," emailed YouTube: "Please understand that this work has been shown world wide and is in countless museum collections. This is a work of art that uses the artist and her body as the work. This is an important issue in the preservation of important art made in the late part of the 20th century and should not be wrongly presumed to be offensive." As of Monday afternoon, he had not heard back.

Mogul, who lives in Silver Lake, was on a road trip and unavailable for comment. A clip from "Dressing Up," is available on her website.

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