Colbert mocked the fact that in order to display the Modigliani painting "Reclining Nude", which recently sold at auction for $170 million, he had to blur out the nudity. Now Stephen Colbert has addressed this weird treatment of art on "The Late Show" in a brief segment that aired last night, examining what network televisions can and cannot broadcast. One particularly absurd example was NBC censoring a classic painting on Hannibal, a series which features people being murdered and eaten in a grisly fashion every single episode.
"This isn't the first time the news has de-titillated art", Colbert announces, adding that when the Picasso earned its record price, certain organizations, including Fox News, had to blur all "eight and a half boobs" in the painting. Bottom line: old and new media still don't know what to do with nude art. To be frank, we - the HuffPost Arts & Culture editors - often have to slap overly cautious NSFW modifiers on articles that contain "racy" art, largely because our posts will end up on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Colbert asks. "And what if that line looks like a butt crack?"
In particular, he pointed to the perplexing policy that he's allowed to show Michelangelo's David, but only from far away and for exactly two seconds. "To see the whole thing, you have to have $170 million or the internet".
"We're all safe now", he says after the image has flashed off the screen. "They blurred the portrait, which was a huge relief, because, for just one moment, I thought someone had accidentally smudged it".