I don’t know what’s more shocking: that this happened in England, or that the Guardian is upset and appalled about it.
Visitors to a London exhibition celebrating freedom of expression this week found plenty of familiar taboo-busting work, from Jamie McCartney’s The Great Wall of Vagina, an eight-foot long cast featuring the genitals of 400 women, toKubra Khademi’s video of an eight-minute walk she made through Kabul in Afganistan, dressed in lushly contoured body armour. But they will have looked in vain for one work detailed in the catalogue by an artist known only as Mimsy.
Isis Threaten Sylvania is a series of seven satirical light box tableaux featuring the children’s toys Sylvanian Families. It was removed from the Passion for Freedomexhibition at the Mall galleries after police raised concerns about the “potentially inflammatory content” of the work, informing the organisers that, if they went ahead with their plans to display it, they would have to pay £36,000 for security for the six-day show.
After all, ISIS exists largely because the antiwar movement – which the Guardian enthusiastically supported – somehow managed to convince Barack Obama that it is a smart thing to go back lose a war after you’ve already won it. The fallout from that galloping disaster on roller skates is still playing out in real-time, but so far it looks like it’s not going to end up being good for anybody concerned. So it would have been nice if the Guardian had ended this piece with a terse Sorry we fornicated the canine on this one, folks…
PS: Given the way that the British so aggressively work to disarm their subjects, I’m not surprised that art gallery owners over there are so skittish. I don’t approve, but I’m not surprised.