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Artistic freedom stops cover up of naked transgender picture

The Austrian advertising standards watchdog have responded to complaints about photographs of naked transgender model Carmen Carrera posted around Vienna by saying that the pictures are classified as art and therefore do not fall under their remit.

The posters were put up by the AIDS fundraising charity the Life Ball, which said the decision to put the posters around the Austrian capital Vienna had been one that had been made deliberately in order to be provocative.

Within 24 hours of being posted up the Austrian Werberat which monitors advertising standards and deals with complaints said they had had 90 written complaints and 20 registered by telephone.

In every case the complainants considered the posters crossed over the borders of decency and in particular objected to the fact that it could be seen by children on the street and in one case was put up outside a Viennese school.

Many of the posters have in the meantime been vandalised but regardless of whether on view still or not, the Werberat claims it is not responsible for monitoring their content.

In a statement the organisation's president Michael Straberger said: "It is in effect an advert for an artistic exhibition by the internationally famous photographer David LaChapelle, which is taking place in a gallery in Vienna. It is true that the logo of the Life Ball can be seen on the posters but it is not advertising for the event directly."

Straberger added they were gathering the complaints and handing over to the exhibition organiser.

He said anybody who was unhappy about the posters should speak to the Life Ball organisers themselves.

Life Ball organiser Gery Keszler meanwhile said he was not only unconcerned about the complaints, he was hoping for complaints. He added: "We will really delighted that after having one world-famous photographer in the form of Pierre et Gilles in the previous year we were now able to get another one who again is able to spread a message of tolerance and acceptance."

He added that was the essence of art to encourage discussion and dialogue.

The posters were put up on the Vienna advertising hoarding company GEWISTA who said they had checked them out legally beforehand and found that they did not breach any laws.

Drag queen Conchita Wurst meanwhile has confirmed that she will be opening the Life Ball this year with the performance of the song rise like a Phoenix and special guests in the audience will include Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love who will also be performing as well.

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