Art law Museums Controversies France

French museum fined for ‘inciting fear in minors’

Metz-based Frac Lorraine must pay token €1 in damages over wall texts, but director says he will appeal

Eric Pougeau, Les Enfants, 2005. Photo: © Eric Pougeau

A regional court in Metz, northern France, has ruled that wall texts displayed in an exhibition of works held in 2008 by the artist Eric Pougeau could be harmful to people aged under 16. The show, entitled “You Are My Mirror: Infamille”, was at at the Metz-based Frac Lorraine (a state-funded, French regional contemporary art collection).

Agrif, an association which says it campaigns “against racism and respect for French identity”, launched a legal battle, arguing that Pougeau’s texts were “violent". According to the French web publication Le Quotidien de l'Art, the judge said that the texts could “incite fear in minors”, and ruled that Frac should pay €1 in damages.

“The sentence is symbolic,” says a Frac spokeswoman. She says that a warning about the content was displayed at the exhibition entrance. Roger Tirlicien, the president of the Frac Lorraine, says that he intends to appeal against the verdict.

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