From nothing less than original Christ de Borja’s renovation to the temporary censorship of Picasso’s “Naked woman on a chair” at the Edimbourg airport…summer was marked by several artistic polemics. Artsper did not need more to get back to the most marked scandals of the last years.
The most political: “Bush” Jonathan Yeo
When, in 2007, Bush family ordered a portrait of W, they did not expect to receive a work of art like that…The English artist Jonathan Yeo, expert in craft, implied himself and offered a portrait entirely realized from images taken in pornographic magazines. Immediate scandal in the White House; the work was evidently refused but taken over on the Internet by the Republican opponents.
The most religious: “Piss Christ” Andres Serano
There was a scandal in 1987 when the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art gave a prize reward to Serano’s photograph. Representing a crucifix plunged into a glass of urine (editorial note: from the artist), the work gave rise to a great debate between Christians and defenders of artistic freedom of expression. We thought the “piss christ” affair was set aside, but in 2011 the polemic came back when the shot was exhibited anew at Avignon. Thus, a protestation campaign was launched by integrist movements in order to remove the work. Unfortunately, the shot remained exposed but was vandalized in the exhibition by protestants armed with hammers…
The most trashy: “Bébé-mouette” Xiao Yu
In 2001, the Chinese artist Xiao Yu presented his “Ruan” at Bern’s Kunstumuseum. The work, renamed “bébé mouette”, aroused a great polemic when the artist explained that it was the head of a female foetus with stitched rabbit eyes, put together on a gull’s body…the whole swimmingly gone in some formalin. Further to some complaints, the art installation was removed from the museum. As for him, Xiao Yu justified his work as a symbol to “protest against monsters created from the genetic manipulation”…
The most anticapitalistic: “LOVE” Maurizio Catellan
In 2010, the real troublemaker of contemporary art Maurizio Catellan installed a 11-meter-height V sign in front of the Milan Stock Exchange. Despite numerous hostile reactions, the work remained there until the end of the exhibition at the Palazzo Reale. An exhibition that already got itself talked about with a poster based on Catellan’s work, “Him”, showing Adolph Hitler kneeling.