Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who created the infamous Modoggies, is being censored again, but that hasn’t stopped his Art Project from proceeding as planned. In fact, it’s quite likely that the latest censorship is part of the Art Project.
According to an article last weekend by Flemming Rose:
[Lars Vilks] was supposed to present his work at the Esloev Biennale in south Sweden. But Vilks, who is under police protection, was denied access to the exhibition. Nobody knows what Mr. Vilks was planning to put on view, but the decision to exclude him had to do with his drawings of Mohammed.
“It’s an unnecessary provocation to allow Vilks to join the exhibition…Many people are offended by his art,” comments Celilia Lind, socialdemocratic member of the city council, to Skaanska Dagbladet.
Eva Hallberg, head of the city’s culture department, told Mr. Vilks that the invitation to put his work on view had been cancelled. She feared that his very presence would create problems.
Khalid El-Haj, another socialdemocratic member of the city council, explained his position on Vilks to Skaanska Dagbladet:
“I don’t want to say he is a bad artist, but I do think so. It would create negative attention around Esloev if we allowed him to join the exhibition, and that’s the reason why we don’t want him here.”
El-Haj added the often repeated insult to millions of Muslims that he as a Muslim was offended on behalf of 1 billion Muslims around the world.
Mr. Vilks is not the only one who understands the true nature of the Art Project. Take, for example, Uwe Max Jensen:
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Some of Vilks’ supporters in Esloev invited the Danish artist and free speech activist Uwe Max Jensen to take his place, and at today’s opening he performed a brilliant stunt. A few days ago Uwe Max Jensen received a copy of one of Mr. Vilks’ drawings of Mohammed, and today he put it on a table and started to erase the drawing with a piece of rubber. Before initiating this operation Mr. Jensen said that he did it to protest the censorship of Lars Vilks. The final product, a piece of white paper will be put on view in the room where Mr. Vilks’ work was supposed to be shown.
According to Mr. Jensen his Erased Mohammed is a paraphrase of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooening. In 1953 Rauschenberg erased a drawing made by the expressionist Wilem de Kooning. It’s a classic work of modern conceptual art.
Normally I curl my lip and reach for my Luger whenever I hear the words “conceptual art”, but this time I will offer Mr. Jensen my kudos. In a single stroke he has used the effete aesthetic apparatus of the cultural elites in order to hoist them with their own petard.
Whether the best and brightest of Sweden are paying attention is another matter, however.
Mr. Vilks is applying himself with vigor to an expansion of his part in the Art Project. According to The Local:
Muhammad cartoon inspires musical in Sweden
A Swedish cartoonist already facing a slew of death threats over his depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog is working on a musical based on the drawing called “Dogs”, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Lars Vilks, whose cartoon featuring Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body provoked massive protests by Muslims when it was published in August, compared his new project with musicals like “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Cats”.
“Muhammad is also a superstar in the modern sense of the term,” Vilks told the Dagens Nyheter daily from New York, adding that around a dozen people were part of the project, carrying the working title “Dogs”.
“We haven’t decided yet if Muhammad will be portrayed by one or several people,” he said.
“Other characters featured will be the prime minister (of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt), Iran’s president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and Al-Qaeda. They are best portrayed in musical form. We will also have an elegy by the ‘choir of the offended’,” he added.
This is priceless. The choice of “Dogs” for the title is truly inspired. And, by invoking “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Mr. Vilks has forced into the open a discussion about what precisely it is that makes Islam different from all other religions. This is not a discussion that the elites of Sweden (or anywhere else in the West, for that matter) would have joined voluntarily.
The Modoggie Crisis has been dormant for the last few weeks, but it’s not over. Lars Vilks’ Art Project is far from complete.
Hat tip: CG.
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.