Open season on Outlook’s art

One day after the organizers of an international art exhibition gave in to political pressure and removed a painting deemed «vulgar» by the Church and conservative parties, a visitor to the exhibition yesterday vandalized a photograph of a naked man copulating with a watermelon. The vandal was identified by police only as a 37-year-old woman. Her conservative dress suggested she was a member of a church organization. After tearing down the untitled photograph by Thanassis Tsotsikas showing himself and the watermelon in an idyllic setting, the woman waited patiently to be discovered by the Outlook exhibition’s guards. Police issued a citation and released her. Mega Channel reported later that guards had prevented another vandal from tearing down a painting by American artist Raymond Pettibon. «Such actions are to be condemned and show how many misunderstandings can arise when our reactions are not cool-headed and do not take correct account of things,» Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos commented. Outlook’s organizers said, «We consider that this cowardly and unacceptable act was instigated by some electronic media and all those who have been cultivating and maintaining a climate of bigotry and obscurantism these days.» They said the work will be returned after it is restored. Totsikas told Kathimerini he will remove all five of his works. On Wednesday, Outlook’s organizers removed a painting by Belgian artist Thierry de Cordier which depicted a penis and a crucifix. Extreme right-wing politician Giorgos Karadzaferis had brought the issue to Parliament. He was followed in his condemnation of the work and the exhibition’s organizers by the Church and the main opposition New Democracy party. Leading artists condemned the removal of de Cordier’s painting and yesterday’s vandalism.