Mayor Censors Mural at French Ceramics Museum
Censorship strikes again in France! A new mural by artist Jérôme Galvin at the just-renovated ceramics museum in the tiny village of Moustiers Sainte-Marie in southeastern France was completely covered up with drywall ahead of the institution’s June 27 reopening, an apparent victim of a stark difference of aesthetic judgment between the town’s former and current mayors, Libération reports.
It was former mayor Alain Archiloque who initiated the revamping of the local museum, which was founded in 1929. In addition to unveiling an entirely new interior design and a trove of ceramic art newly donated by collector Pierre Jourdan-Barry, the institution’s curator Nadine Gomez commissioned Galvin to create a site-specific mural, which was completed a few days before the reopening. But by the morning of Thursday June 26 the new mayor, Patricia Brun—who was elected in March—had seen to it that the large-scale mural had been completely concealed behind fresh drywall.
“In the room devoted to grotesque ceramics, I created a five-meter mural,” Galvin told Libération. “I took inspiration from this historic genre, grotesque and burlesque, rich and well known…I portrayed, in a more contemporary manner, small figures, some of them nude, in ridiculous positions. One was a urinating aristocrat. It’s not pornographic, there’s no erection.”
Evidently, the new mayor’s municipal council has a different definition of “pornographic,” deeming Galvin’s images “insanities, vices, pornography” in an official statement. This in spite of the fact that the artist had worked with the mayor’s office to ensure that the mural would not offend anyone at city hall.
“I don’t understand,” Galvin said. “I had discussions with the mayor’s office. We reached an agreement. I put little fig leaves on the six contested figures. But what will the mayor do about the historic piece in the museum’s collection that shows a monkey defecating into a bird’s mouth?”
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