Fearing a backlash on social media, the world’s most famous art museum, the Louvre in Paris, has pulled an installation for being “sexually explicit.”
The large installation, called “Domestikator,” by Dutch art and design collective Atelier Van Lieshout, was originally set to go on view on October 19 at the Louvre’s Tuileries Gardens as part of Hors les Murs, a public art program for the exhibition of contemporary art.
“This is something that should not happen,” said Joep van Lieshout, who founded the art collective. He shared his comments in The New York Times earlier this month. “A museum should be an open place for communication,” he added. “The task of the museum and the press is to explain the work.”
The installation is entirely lacking in detail. It’s a multi-story building made out of red blocky shapes intended to resemble a standing figure having sex with another figure down on all fours.
“The piece itself, it’s not really very explicit,” Van Lieshout said. “It’s a very abstracted shape. There are no genitals; it’s pretty innocent.”
The London-based gallery, Carpenters Workshop, which represents Atelier Van Lieshout, called the Louvre’s decision to nix the installation “very damaging for the artists and the Fiac program.” Fiac organizes the Hors les Murs.
“The artwork symbolizes the power of humanity over the world and its hypocritical approach to nature,” the group said.
Speaking for the Louvre, a spokeswoman said that the art they choose to exhibit is made by three committees. She explained that “Domestikator” had only been presented after these commissions, which prevented them from having an organized discussion about it.
French newspaper Le Monde reported that the Louvre’s director Jean-Luc Martinez relayed his concerns to Fiac about the piece, which he said could be “misunderstood” by the public and cause outrage.
“Online commentaries point out this work has a brutal aspect,” Martinez wrote. “It risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens.”
Perhaps they could have just slapped a trigger warning on the installation and been done with it.
Feature Image via New York Times