Chapman Brothers' explicit work removed from show
Sculpture showing two naked girls taken down after complaints from children’s rights group
By Hannah McGivern. Web only
Published online: 12 August 2014
Less than a week after Jake Chapman’s provocative comments in the British media that bringing children to art galleries is a “total waste of time”, the Maxxi museum in Rome has removed a work by the Chapman Brothers in response to a complaint from a children’s rights group.
The Italian Observatory for the Rights of Minors said in a statement that it lobbied the country’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, on behalf of visitors concerned about the work Piggyback, 1997. The sculpture, which shows two naked girls, one with a penis protruding from her mouth, was part of a 2010 bequest from the collector Claudia Gian Ferrari. It was exhibited in Maxxi’s collection display “Remembering Is Not Enough,” installed last December and due to run until the end of September.
According to a statement released on 9 August, the museum had placed warning signs at its ticket office and information point to inform families of the work’s explicit content. “Crudeness is part of the Chapman brothers’ work… and we strongly believe in and support artists’ freedom of expression,” said the director of Maxxi’s art programmes, Anna Mattirolo. She said that the work was taken down “a few days” ahead of a planned rehang.
The president of the observatory, Antonio Marziale, expressed disappointment at the “partial solution”. “We do not want to attack artistic freedom of expression but avoid promoting depictions with a clearly paedo-pornographic context behind the screen of art,” he said.
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