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Sculpture Too Sexual for the Louvre to Be Shown at Pompidou Center


“Domestikator,” by the Dutch collective Atelier van Lieshout, had been intended for the Tuileries Gardens next to the Louvre.

Patrick Skrypczak

After the Louvre demurred, an art installation many consider to be sexually explicit will instead be displayed outside the Pompidou Center in Paris.

The 40-foot-tall “Domestikator,” by the Dutch art and design collective Atelier Van Lieshout, was intended to be shown in the Tuileries Gardens, next to the Louvre, as part of the Fiac contemporary art fair this month.

The Louvre had an apparent change of heart, however, and announced it was withdrawing the sculpture. Questions about freedom of expression were raised after the decision, and now the work will be on view outside the Pompidou starting on Wednesday.

“To have this major piece in front of the Pompidou is a victory,” Julien Lombrail, director of the London-based gallery Carpenters Workshop, which represents Atelier Van Lieshout, said in a telephone interview.

“It’s an incredible moment for Paris and the public,” he said, “when we have so many issues surrounding art and censorship. It’s important for us to engage for the future.”

Le Monde reported late last month that the Louvre’s president and director, Jean-Luc Martinez, had sent a letter raising concerns about the installation with Fiac’s organizers. “Online commentaries point out this work has a brutal aspect,” he was quoted as saying. “It risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens.”

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