Now that this Christmas thing is finally over, it’s time for serious business again: censorship. Meet Larissa Sansour, a Jerusalem-born artist with a passion, who found herself on the shortlist for the 2011 Elysee Museum Prize – which is sponsored by the crocophiles at Lacoste. Sansour was commissioned to produce an artwork and she came up with a series of photographs depicting Nation Estate: a fictional high rise estate in Jerusalem which would house the whole Palestinian nation/state/people. Great. Right?
Not really apparently – according to the reptilo-people at least. Lacoste considered her artwork to be ‘too pro-Palestinian’ and told the museum to remove her from the shortlist, much to the outrage of the artist. Thankfully – and this is the brilliant part – the Musée de l’Elysée also values freedom of expression and sided (pdf) with Sansour on the matter, cancelling (here for French) the whole prize thing altogether. Art 1, Crocofascists 0. In a cover-up move, Lacoste now denies everything, which doesn’t leave anybody wondering at all: obviously a panic-induced attempt at censorship backfired. Big time. And now nobody in the art world will ever wear Lacoste polos again, even though they come in a gazillion fancy colours and are currently on sale. Wouter Vanstiphout has already burned his in front of the Lacostian embassy already, allegedly.
All this weirdly resembles this story, by the way. Or this one. And also, it’s not like Sansour didn’t attempt to claim the moon as a new Palestina in another artwork before settling for the Nation Estate building: she definitely went soft this time.