In Brief

Kinkier than Thou: Pompidou Installs Doggie-Style Sculpture the Louvre Dumped

After the Louvre rejected a racy sculpture, the contemporary art museum welcomed it with open arms.

It turns out that those in charge at the Centre Georges Pompidou are a little less prudish than the heads of the Louvre. This week, the contemporary art museum welcomed a giant, inhabitable sculpture of two figures doing it doggie-style to its grounds, shortly after the Louvre rejected it for being too provocative.

As Hyperallergic’s Benjamin Sutton reported, “Domestikator” was originally designed by Atelier Van Lieshout in 2015 and was supposed to be included in the Louvre’s outdoor sculpture program, as part of the Paris FIAC art fair. The cuboid sculpture depicts a humanoid figure holding on to a four-legged creature from the back, as if penetrating it. Public outrage over its lewdness online, however, placed enough pressure on the museum to back off from showing the piece — a decision that in turn drew complaints of institutional censorship.

Atelier Van Lieshout, "Domestikator" (2015)
Atelier Van Lieshout, “Domestikator” (2015), when installed in Germany last month (photo courtesy the artist and Carpenters Workshop Gallery, © Patrick Skrypczak)

Now, the 40-foot-tall piece has found a temporary home at the Pompidou, where it towers over the busy esplanade outside the building. In a nice coincidence, the red, geometric sculpture actually matches Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s architecture pretty well. Seemingly having no issue at all with the sculpture’s suggestive form, the museum approaches it with a sense of humor.

“Obscene, pornographic? Well, obscenity is everywhere, pornography, sadly, is everywhere, certainly not in this work of art,” the museum’s director Bernard Blistene told Reuters. “This work of art is funny, it is an obvious nod to the relationship of abstraction and figurative painting that co-exist in Dutch art in the 20th century. Spiritual yes, obscene no.”

“Domestikator” is presented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, whose cofounders Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard had previously told Hyperallergic that the artwork “symbolizes the power of humanity over the world and its hypocritical approach to nature.” In a new statement published on their website, Atelier Van Lieshout’s founder Joep Van Lieshout shared that he is “pleased that visitors to the Pompidou will have the opportunity to experience this work and hope[s] that it generates questions and dialogue around the complexity of the issue of domestication — particularly its inherent hypocrisy, and the disconcerting fact that we are still without any real policy or regulation to govern this increasingly intrepid behavior.”

If you’re in Paris, you can catch the enormous installation boinking on the piazza through October 22.

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