How Pornhub is getting people back into museums

·2-min read
"Pygmalion and Galatea" by Jean León Gérome (1890)

The collections of the Prado, the National Gallery and the Musée d'Orsay are full of priceless treasures. Among them are some rather bold paintings and sculptures, which Pornhub is helping people discover through a new interactive guide. Warning: it is not suitable for younger art fans.

"Classic Nudes" allows art fans to get to know nudes such as Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," Francisco de Goya's "The Nude Maja" and, of course, Gustave Courbet's "The Origin of the World." The history of these iconic paintings is discussed in detail by the American porn actress Asa Akira, whose descriptions are a far cry from those you might find on exhibition info panels.

When looking at "The Turkish Bath," the Ingres painting depicting a group of naked women in a harem, Asa Akira humorously observes: "Prince Napoleon of France originally commissioned the artwork, but his wife wasn't having any of that, and made him return it. At the time, that was the equivalent of someone cancelling your Pornhub Premium subscription, and just as soul crushing as it would be today."

And Rubens's "Samson and Dalilah" gets the same treatment, as Asa Akira recounts the Biblical tale: "Samson was so strong that his enemies the Philistines couldn't figure out how to kill him. So they recruited biblical babe Delilah to help discover his weakness and, using her powers of seduction, she convinces our strongman to give up his secret. Anyway, it turns out that the big guy's hair is the source of his strength, which of course begs the question: Were his pubes magic too?"

Getting people back into museums

Pornhub is inviting art lovers to discover these "Classic Nudes" on a standalone website, as well as live in the flesh at the six museums that host them every day of the year. For the porn giant, it's a way of "stimulating the public to visit, explore and fall back in love (or lust) with these cultural institutions."

And they need it. While many European museums reopened several weeks ago, they appear to be nowhere near drawing the kind of crowds they saw pre-pandemic. According to the New York Times, the Vatican's museums only receive 5,000 visitors on weekends, whereas they used to receive 22,000 visitors every day. And the situation is similar in France, although official figures on museum attendance in the country will not be available until next quarter.

So has the public grown tired of museums? Or have people become too accustomed to the multitude of online initiatives that sprung up during the pandemic? Perhaps, but all does not seem lost. At the beginning of July, over a million people visited more than 1,000 museums in France on the occasion of the 17th edition of the European Night of Museums.

Caroline Drzewinski

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