Christian Democrats in Alingsås want to close down the History of Sex exhibition at the town’s municipal art gallery. The Liberal Party, usually allied with the Christian Democrats, says art should not be censored.
The photos, by American photographer Andres Serrano, depict scenes including a man performing oral sex on himself and a woman clutching a horse’s penis.
The controversy over the exhibition has been taken to a new level by the involvement of the neo-Nazi Nationalsocialistisk Front (NSF), which has been distributing flyers protesting against the exhibition.
“As a resident of Alingsås you are contributing to this exhibition as it is the council that is behind it. This is your tax money being used to show pornography,” the NSF writes in its flyers.
The photos were previously exhibited in Lund, where they were vandalized by neo-Nazis. As in Lund, the exhibition in Alingsås is closed to children under 15 and visitors are informed about the explicit nature of the photos before entering the gallery.
Despite these measures, Christian Democrats in the town, 50 kilometres north-east of Gothenburg, are livid that the pictures are on display at all. They view the decision by the gallery to give space to the exhibition as a sign of “a remarkable lack of judgement.”
In a letter to local paper Alingsås Tidning, Christian Democrats on the council have demanded the gallery “take down the pictures and end the exhibition.”
“Freedom of speech – absolutely, but where is the judgment?” they ask.
Lennart Karlsson, the Christian Democrat representative on the council’s culture committee, refused to give an interview to news agency TT. The Liberal chairman of the committee, Lars Lundgren, said he was keen to protect free speech:
“Politicians should not decide which pictures should be shown or which books should be read. They should stay out of it, regardless of which party they belong to.”