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DomestikatorAtelier Van Lieshout

The Louvre pulls sculpture that looks like houses having sex

Quite bizarre – apparently “it risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens”

Ahead of Hors les Murs, a public art program organised by the Fiac contemporary art fair, the Louvre has pulled a sculpture. The installation, ‘Domestikator’, which appears to depict two big red house-esque people going at it, was meant to go on view on October 19 in the Louvre’s Tuileries Gardens. The piece is by Dutch collective Atelier Van Lieshout, and Joep Van Lieshout himself was pretty upset by the decision; telling the The New York Times that “this is something that should not happen. A museum should be an open place for communication. The task of the museum and the press is to explain the work.”

He also pointed out the obvious: that “the piece itself, it’s not really very explicit. It’s a very abstracted shape. There are no genitals; it’s pretty innocent.” There haven’t really been any compelling arguments for pulling it – the Louvre’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, said in a letter to Fiac that “online commentaries point out this work has a brutal aspect. It risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens”.

Now – I don’t know a lot about art. But what I do know is that it is, for the most part, allowed to be “misunderstood”. Art is up for interpretation, and if someone was to wander into those gardens and be offended or upset by the image of two houses fucking, then that would be on them. Is this depiction of two houses making love harming anyone? Likely not. The only other thing I know about art is that a lot of it is about sex and nudity. But like, actually, and not in an abstract blocks-doing-doggy way. There are breasts and male full-frontals and actual, explicitly depicted sex all over art books and museums and even old buildings. So, really, the Louvre should grow up IMO.

Reportedly, the Paris city hall did kindly offer to find somewhere else to show the work, but it “was too late.”