SHARE
COPY LINK

ART

Artist exposes genitals in Paris museum stunt

An artist caused a stir in Paris recently when she recreated a classic, but controversial painting of a woman's genitals at a famous museum by exposing herself to visitors. It's the City of Light's latest nude art moment.

Artist exposes genitals in Paris museum stunt
The artist exposed herself at the Musée D'Orsay in Paris. Photo: Wikicommons

It's been over a century since Gustave Courbet painted the ‘L’Origine du Monde’, which depicts a close-up view of the genitals and abdomen of a naked woman with her legs spread, and the painting still has the ability to stir up controversy, it would seem.

Luxembourg-based visual artist Deborah de Robertis shocked visitors at Paris’s famous Musée D’Orsay with her own live representation of the 19th century painting late last month, France TV reported.

Accompanied by Schubert’s Ave Maria and dressed in a gold robe, the artist reportedly sat down in front of Courbet’s masterpiece where she assumed a similar pose to that of the original.

The X-rated, May 29th performance – entitled ‘Miroir de L’Origine’ (Mirror of the Origin) – was greeted with applause by bystanders, but museum staff weren’t so impressed.

In a video of the performance, which has since been removed from YouTube for violating the website’s terms of service, the artist is immediately approached by a security guard who tells her put an end to the performance.

When the artist refuses to cover herself, a security guard stands in front of her to hide her from view while another evacuates the room.

Visitors at Paris's Musée D'Orsay admire the original 'L'Origine du Monde'. Photo: Wikicommons 

According to the website Secondsexe, management at the museum alerted the police and de Robertis was held for questioning, but reportedly won't face criminal charges.

There's something about Paris that seems to help artists separate themselves from their clothing. One of the most striking examples was the South African artist Steven Cohen, who ended up being convicted of sexual exhibitionism after a performance in front of the Eiffel Tower that saw him dance with a rooster tied to his penis.

"What I did was art (that) had nothing to do with sexuality," he had told the court, adding that no one – even a group of passing nuns – had complained about the performance.

“It was not the penis that was the focus,” Cohen had told the court. It was all to do with the expression of his identity – “a white male, homosexual and Jewish”, he told the court.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ARCHITECTURE

Futuristic Gehry tower opens in World Heritage Arles

Rising high beyond an ancient Roman arena in Arles, a tall, twisted tower created by Frank Gehry shimmers in the sun, the latest futuristic addition to this southern French city known for its World Heritage sites.

Futuristic Gehry tower opens in World Heritage Arles
Gehry's Luma Tower opens in Arles, France. Photo: H I / Pixabay

The tower, which opens to the public on Saturday, is the flagship attraction of a new “creative campus” conceived by the Swiss Luma arts foundation that wants to offer artists a space to create, collaborate and showcase their work.

Gehry, the 92-year-old brain behind Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum and Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, wrapped 11,000 stainless steel panels around his tower above a huge glass round base.

It will house contemporary art exhibitions, a library, and offices, while the Luma Arles campus as a whole will host conferences and live performances.

From a distance, the structure reflects the changing lights of this town that inspired Van Gogh, capturing the whiteness of the limestone Alpilles mountain range nearby which glows a fierce orange when the sun sets.

Mustapha Bouhayati, the head of Luma Arles, says the town is no stranger to
imposing monuments; its ancient Roman arena and theatre have long drawn the
crowds.

The tower is just the latest addition, he says. “We’re building the heritage of tomorrow.”

Luma Arles spreads out over a huge former industrial wasteland.

Maja Hoffmann, a Swiss patron of the arts who created the foundation, says
the site took seven years to build and many more years to conceive.

Maja Hoffmann, founder and president of the Luma Foundation. Photo: Pascal GUYOT / AFP

Aside from the tower, Luma Arles also has exhibition and performance spaces in former industrial buildings, a phosphorescent skatepark created by South Korean artist Koo Jeong A and a sprawling public park conceived by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets.

‘Arles chose me’

The wealthy great-granddaughter of a founder of Swiss drug giant Roche, Hoffmann has for years been involved in the world of contemporary art, like her grandmother before her.

A documentary producer and arts collector, she owns photos by Annie Leibovitz and Diane Arbus and says she hung out with Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York.

Her foundation’s stated aim is to promote artists and their work, with a special interest in environmental issues, human rights, education and culture.

She refuses to answer a question on how much the project in Arles cost. But as to why she chose the 53,000-strong town, Hoffmann responds: “I did not choose Arles, Arles chose me.”

She moved there as a baby when her father Luc Hoffmann, who co-founded WWF,
created a reserve to preserve the biodiversity of the Camargue, a region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Rhone river delta known for its pink flamingos.

The tower reflects that, with Camargue salt used as mural panels and the
delta’s algae as textile dye.

Hoffmann says she wants her project to attract more visitors in the winter, in a town where nearly a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line.

Some 190 people will be working at the Luma project over the summer, Bouhayati says, adding that Hoffman has created an “ecosystem for creation”.

SHOW COMMENTS