In Paris, officials at the Louvre have been criticised after they withdrew an installation that they found sexually explicit and “too rude.”
The work, entitled Domestikator, features a 40-foot architectural structure with an outline resembling a couple having sex. Created by Dutch art collective Atelier Van Lieshout, it was supposed to be on display later this month at the Tuileries Gardens as part of the Hors les Murs public art program organised by the Fiac contemporary fair.
Amidst accusations of censorship, museum officials maintained their position (no pun intended) on the matter.
“Online commentaries point out this work has a brutal aspect; it risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens,” Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez said in a letter to Fiac. The museum also brought up fears that the artwork would have been placed near a children’s playground.
In an interview with the New York Times, the collective’s founder, Joep van Lieshout, responded: “This is something that should not happen. A museum should be an open place for communication. The task of the museum and the press is to explain the work.”
He added: “The piece itself, it’s not really very explicit. It’s a very abstracted shape. There are no genitals; it’s pretty innocent.”
According to London-based gallery Carpenters Workshop, which represents Atelier Van Lieshout, the installation’s purpose wasn’t to offend, but rather, symbolise “the power of humanity over the world and its hypocritical approach to nature.”
The gallery also said that the City of Paris and Fiac tried to find another location for Domestikator, but couldn’t find one in time for the fair.