Bea Arthur Naked Painting Sells For $1.9 Million At Christie's Auction; Controversial Art Banned From Facebook[PHOTO AND VIDEO]

By Staff Writer | May 16, 2013 02:28 PM EDT


"Naked Bea Arthur," a painting by John Currin was sold at a Christie's Auction on Wednesday for $1.9 million to an anonymous buyer.  The controversial painting of Bea Arthur is being flagged on Facebook.

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The "Bea Arthur Naked" painting from 1991 was actually expected to sell for as high as $2.5 million.  A secret bidder acquired the work at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in New York City last night for $1.9 million. The Christie's auction netted a whopping $495 million for 70 lots on the block.

Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Dustheads," circa 1982, notched a new record for the late legendary artist with a sale of $48 million to Warner Music Group Group mogul Len Blavatnik.

The naked painting of Dorothy from "The Golden Girls" has been banned from Facebook. The artwork showing Bea's breasts is apparently too racy for its members. The site's terms of service technically forbid nudity, but not in art. So the decision is controversial and may be reverted soon.

Here's what critics have said about "Bea Arthur Naked"

        "Boycott this show." (Kim Levin, The Village Voice, 1992)

         "There are critics and other art world luminaries who find Currin's art, though technically admirable, to be derivative, extremely vulgar, and downright quirky." (Frederick Winship, UPI, 2004)

         "Toe-curling, embarrassing provocations, leading to knee-jerk accusations of sexism, ageism and misogyny" (Adrian Searle, The Independent, 1995)

         "Blasts of seriously bad taste" (James Hall, The Guardian, 1996)

         "A graduate of Yale's art school, Currin can paint, however, no better or worse than dozens of others." (Peter Goddard, Toronto Star, 2004)

Others put it differently:

         "Those middle-aged women are not objects of mockery, as it happens, but memorable in their proud desperation to keep up appearances, and dignified in the case of the actress Bea Arthur bare-breasted." (Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 2003)

         "Naked, Arthur nevertheless remains composed and dignified, her smile and slightly peaked eyebrows conveying a sense of irony, even amusement. The portrait is too psychological for the everyday antifeminist caricature." (David Rimanelli, ArtForum, 2003)

         "I'm not one of Currin's assassins. I was pretty entertained by his exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art." (Geoff Gehman, The Morning Call, 2004)

         "I loved her character and the persona of that particular age ... They were sympathetic paintings, even though they seem mean-spirited." (The artist himself, Rocky Mountain News, 2003)

Do you like "Bea Arthur Naked" or should the "Golden Girl" cover up?



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