Bea Arthur’s topless painting is causing quite a stir online.
The deceased Golden Girls star was the subject of a 1991 painting by Brooklyn-based artist John Currin simply titled “Bea Arthur Naked.” As the title suggests, the painting depicts Arthur from the waist up, topless, sporting a pretty unspectacular expression, all things being equal.
But Arthur would probably be smiling (maybe blushing), at least after finding out that an anonymous bidder shelled out nearly $2 million for the notorious portrait at a Christie’s auction days ago.
The NSFW painting, which you can see here (warning: can’t un-see), has been long criticized for misogyny, but a Christie spokesperson told the New York Post that if you see it that way, well, you just don’t get it.
“It’s historically significant — it’s radical to sexualize someone people think of as asexual,” the spokesperson opined. “The painting has a visual toughness to it — but it’s also fun.”
That “visual toughness” hasn’t escaped your average passerby online, either. Since the story has gone viral, many commenters on social media fall somewhere in between the auction house’s description of the “Bea Arthur Naked” painting as being both “nostalgic and repelling.”
Either that, or they just embrace the awkward surreal-ness of this postmodern wonder.
Lies we all tell:I’m never drinking again.I’m twitterciding.I never gossip.I’m never searching for Bea Arthur nudies again.
— John Solo (@Shock_Monster) May 5, 2013
Hilariously, of all the major social networks, Facebook seems to be rocking the Bea Arthur censorship the strongest.
While many publications are publishing NSFW pictures of the painting on Twitter, Facebook has drawn the apropos line at “Bea Arthur Naked,” locking The Daily Beast‘s social media editors out of their accounts for sharing the topless portrait.
What do you think of Bea Arthur’s topless portrait?