Warsaw’s “Cancel culture” show sparks controversy
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Jewish groups published an open letter criticizing the opening of an exhibition in Warsaw on Friday that includes works by Swedish artist Dan Park, who has been convicted of hate speech.
One of Park’s works on display at the “Political Art” exhibition features Norwegian far-right killer Anders Behring Breivik as a model for clothing brand Lacoste.
“We do not agree to support people who spread hatred, intolerance and hostility,” reads the letter signed, among others, by the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and Zygmunt Stepinski, director of the museum POLIN of the History of Polish Jews.
The letter said it was “amazing and sad” that Park appeared in an exhibit.
“In Poland – a country where due to Nazi policy six million citizens were killed – the activities of creators such as Dan Park insult the feelings of all Poles,” he said.
Park has been convicted on several occasions for his provocative words and actions, most notably in 1996 when he wore a bomber jacket with a swastika bearing the words “Heil Hitler” and “SS” and the skull symbol Totenkopf .
He told the court he wore it as a provocation, not because he sympathized with Nazism.
Park is popular with far-right movements.
The exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle is described by the organizers as a celebration of freedom of expression and a platform for artists who are victims of the “cancellation of culture”.
“Artists who contradict these trends and advocate unbridled expression and anti-mainstream ideas often pay the highest price to test the limits of tolerance and confront political dogmas,” the museum said.
Museum director Piotr Bernatowicz was installed in 2019 by Poland’s ruling right-wing populist Law and Justice (PiS), a controversial appointment that has drawn accusations from the government attempting to co-opt cultural institutions into its agenda. conservative.
The show, funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture, features 28 artists, including Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who in 2007 sparked controversy with his drawing of the Muslim prophet Mohammad.
He was the target of several attempted attacks, the most recent in Copenhagen in February 2015 during a conference dubbed “Art, blasphemy and freedom”.
The exhibition also includes a concept art project by Danish artist Kristian von Hornsleth, who paid 340 poor villagers in Uganda to legally change their names to “Hornsleth”.
© 2021 AFP