As The Local reported last week, a fiberglass cow participating in the city-wide Cow Parade hit the headlines by getting itself stolen from the lawn of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet. Shortly afterwards a threat surfaced as a group calling themselves “Stockholm’s militant graffiti artists” released a video inspired by footage of Al-Qaida cells and recent hostage films.
In the video, which could be viewed over the group’s web site, two masked youngsters demanded that that all the cows be removed from the streets of Stockholm by noon on August 23, and that it be admitted that the Cow Parade was in fact not art at all.
For some days, the newspapers speculated about the militants and their motives, and project organizers tried to find a middle ground that they could share with the cownappers. Dagens Nyheter reported that the Cow Parade organizers at advertising and public relations bureau Ogilvy had offered the activists a white cow to decorate in exchange for the stolen cow, so that they could clarify what “real art” was. The organizers even offered to auction off the cow with all the others in September. Stockholm’s militant graffiti artists, perhaps not surprisingly, were unmoved.
Backa Carin Ivarsdotter, the artist who decorated the stolen cow, began to speculate about the real identity of the thieves. Dagens Nyheter reported that Ivarsdotter “didn’t for a second believe that it was graffiti artists who had stolen the cow. It’s more likely art students – bad ones, at that – who want attention”.
She held up as evidence the text on the banner in the background of the video, which “didn’t look like the work of graffiti artists”.
Färgfabriken, which this summer displayed David Lynch’s somewhat gruesome contribution to Cow Parade New York (which was not shown in that project, being in near-total disregard of the crowd-pleasing, somewhat commercial aims of the Cow Parade), began to arrange a discussion on the cows and on the privatisation of public streets.
Unfortunately, no one really extended any sort of olive branch, and the cow ended up as most cows do – in bits. On Monday Ogilvy received several fragments of the cow in a black plastic bag. The threatening video on the militants’ website had been replaced with one showing the cow’s beheading. Look to this week’s conversations at Färgfabriken and the culture columns for breaking news in the tragedy.
The Cow Parade: http://stockholm.cowparade.com/