The Null Device

Zuerst die Füsse

An art gallery is considering whether to withdraw a sculpture of a crucified frog after Pope Benedict condemned it as blasphemous and the president of the regional government went on a hunger strike in protest. The sculpture, Zuerst die Füsse ("Feet First") by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger, depicts an anthropomorphic frog nailed to a cross, its tongue grotesquely lolling, holding a beer stein and an egg, and was intended by the artist as a self-portrait illustrating human angst.

I'm hoping that the gallery stands fast and doesn't remove it. What too many people are forgetting is that one has to choose to be offended by something, and not being offended is not a fundamental human right. If the president of Alto Adige chose to be so offended that he went on a hunger strike and was hospitalised, that was his choice. If we allow one religion to censor art to protect its sensitivities (or, indeed, its claim to cultural hegemony), it sets a terrible precedent.

There are 5 comments on "Zuerst die Füsse":

Posted by: Paulie Fri Aug 29 17:20:13 2008

People do not have the right to not be offended.

Posted by: acb Fri Aug 29 22:16:21 2008

Damn right. Or actually they have the right to choose not to be offended. If they choose to be offended, that's their responsibility and no-one else's.

Posted by: mark Mon Sep 1 00:41:10 2008

For what it's worth, I *am* offended ... but that's my business. I've certainly no right to insist that any given gallery take pains to avoid offending me or those with my religious views.

(Besides, Christian-baiting is a popular sport in this day & age. If we got up in arms, Jyllands-Posten style, every time someone did something we could argue was blasphemous, we'd never get anything done. And we'd get a well-deserved reputation for being precious wowsers. Yeah, er, no thanks.)

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 1 09:21:12 2008

I don't see this as "Christian-bashing", but rather as using the story of the Passion, an integral part of European cultural history, as a metaphor for the contemporary human condition. Piss Christ this is not.

Posted by: Domingo Wed May 6 21:19:31 2009

I am offended, and there are reasons to justify this piece of art taken off. You see,amongst human rights there is a right to the safekeeping of my honor and dignity. As a catholic, I have chose catholicism, of course, thing is, nobody has a right to mock or insult anyone, that is never justified (unless you wish to go against the declaration of human rights) and so I ask you: ¿are artists super humans that go beyond the law and order set by society and democracy? I belive the church has a right to take this to the law (since giving them the power to simply ban it is of course, absurd) nad make a stand against what clearly is an insult.. can you not see the resemblance with Jesus Christ crucified? Don't mess with me.