A Dutch design collective is not happy that the world-famous Louvre has yanked one of its art installations from an upcoming exhibit because it’s too sexually explicit.
The piece was to be erected in the museum’s Tuileries Garden this month as part of a public art program.
The 40-foot-tall “Domestikator,” by the collective Atelier Van Lieshout, looks like two buildings copulating.
“In question, its sexual nature: the work evokes a couple in doggy style. Stylized, of course, Lego way, but nevertheless explicit,” described the French publication Le Monde.
According to The New York Times, the museum was concerned that the tall sculpture would be seen from a nearby children’s playground.
The collective’s founder, artist Joep van Lieshout, called the museum’s concerns “total hypocrisy.” He told British tabloid, The Sun, that many schoolchildren have seen the piece during the three years it’s been displayed at the Ruhrtriennale music festival in Bochum, Germany.
The piece, one of the most popular with the public at the festival, will reportedly remain on view there until Wednesday.
Children too young to pick up on its sexual nature found it funny instead, van Lieshout said.
“If children see something as sexual, it is because they are old enough to see it,” he told the Sun.
The piece is not very explicit, he told the Times. “It’s a very abstracted shape. There are no genitals; it’s pretty innocent,” he said.
Innocent isn’t exactly what the Louvre sees. According to Le Monde, Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez raised concerns about the piece in a letter sent to the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), organizer of the garden exhibit.
“Legends on the Internet circulate and attribute to this work a vision too brutal that may be misunderstood by our traditional audience of the Jardin des Tuileries,” Martinez reportedly wrote.
Van Lieshout, who planned to live inside the installation for a month while it was on display in Paris, told the Times the museum should not have pulled the piece.
“A museum should be an open place for communication. The task of the museum and the press is to explain the work,” he told the Times.
The installation has been described as symbolizing “the power of humanity over the world and its hypocritical approach to nature.”
Paris City Hall offered to help find an alternative public space for the artwork, but it was apparently too late to find a new home for the 30-ton display.