BRANDISHING bananas and eating them ‘provocatively’, hundreds of protesters have been gathering outside the National Museum in Warsaw this week to demonstrate their opposition to the removal last week of a renowned artwork.
The 1973 video “Consumer Art” by prominent artist Natalia LL – showing a young woman eating a banana with great relish – was removed from the museum after its new head, Jerzy Miziolek, was summoned to the Ministry of Culture.
Miziolek said in an interview that he was:
Opposed to showing works that could could irritate sensitive young people.
He suggested some visitors had complained. The work had been in the gallery for many years.
A separate 2005 video by another controversial female artist, Katarzyna Kozyra, showing a woman walking two men on all fours, dressed as dogs on a lead, was also removed.But on Monday, Miziolek appeared to have a change of
The dispute is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding art and culture under the staunchly Catholic country’s conservative and nationalist government.
Culture Minister Piotr Glinski has repeatedly drawn criticism for cutting subsidies to art festivals that were planning to show controversial theater plays on Catholic themes. Mr Glinski has fired a popular theater director who criticised him.
He also recently cut funds for the European Solidarity Center, an exhibition and culture center popular with government critics, saying its activity went beyond its history-teaching mission.
Twitter and Facebook users ridiculed the ban as narrow-minded and a case of censorship, and many posted photos of themselves enjoying bananas.