Greek Police Shut Down Traitorous Porno "Art Show"
(The Article Below Is Reproduced For Fair Use And Educational Purposes)
Protests as Greek police close "indecent" art show
Mon Jun 4, 2007 8:47 PM IST
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police shut down an Athens art exhibit and arrested the show's curator for what they said was "indecent" art, prompting heated protests from Greece's press and art world on Monday.
Police stormed the Art Athina show on Saturday, shut down the video exhibit, which combined pornographic material with the Greek national anthem, and arrested curator Michalis Argyros who spent the night in jail.
"In the democratic Greece of 2007, it is unacceptable to limit expression and to prosecute creators," the daily Eleftherotupia said in its main editorial, echoing other papers. "It's not up to police to judge art."
Police officials said they acted on a tip-off that offensive material was shown at the art show, which is under the auspices of the Culture Ministry.
"We were told that there was something indecent that violated the law about offending national symbols and common decency," a police official said. "We went there with a public prosecutor who verified the offence and arrested the person in charge."
Argyros is expected to be charged by a prosecutor on Wednesday. The artist, Eva Stefani, is abroad and also wanted on charges of offending public decency. If convicted, they could face up to 10 months in jail, which is usually turned into a fine.
Culture Minister George Voulgarakis issued a statement saying he did not like the artwork in question but that artists were free to create.
"The specific artwork does not agree with my aesthetics or principles," he said. "Artists are free to create and citizens have a right to reject or not whatever they believe offends our national symbols."
The work -- showing scenes from 1960s Greek pornographic movies through a peephole to the sound of the Greek national anthem - was clearly marked with signs that it was not suitable for those under 18 years of age.
"I find it unacceptable that a work of art is violently removed from an exhibition," Stefani was quoted as saying to Eleftherotypia from Germany.
(Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou)