December 10th, 2003


shipping companies that judge art

DHL tried to destroy the paintings by top Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki which were en route to the MEO gallery in Budapest. The gallery only found out the paintings had been scheduled for destruction after it contacted DHL to find out why the pictures had not arrived for the start of last month's exhibition.

Read the whole story: Courier nearly destroyed 'porn' artworks

Apparently, DHL has a history of doing this, and UPS has a similar policy. This article in Salon includes another DHL "porn" story, and an attempt to interview representatives from DHL, UPS, and FedEx: the shipping nudes

The last paragraph is my favorite:
Federal Express could make hay off being a Botticelli-friendly carrier. It would be a great TV commercial. The opening shot features a nice middle-aged woman looking appreciatively at a life-size reproduction of Michaelangelo's "David." She turns and faces the camera. "I tried to send this poster home from Europe to my son who's studying Renaissance art, but DHL and UPS ripped open my parcel and said it was pornographic. If it weren't for Federal Express, I would have missed his birthday entirely!" Cut to a shot of a Federal Express plane flying into the sunset, then her son unrolling the poster and beaming appreciatively, while a voice-over announces, "Federal Express: We take care of the shipping and leave questions of taste up to you."

This all reminds me of the recent controversy surrounding a certain painting at Vassar College, as told in the artist's blog here and here. nebel, who works next to the painting in question, ranted about it in this post

[Edited for people at work: The photos are behind a cut tag now. I'll un-cut in a week or two]