Is The Louvre Prudish And Unesco Worth Leaving?

By | October 24, 2017

Unesco and a piece of art called the Domestikator have nothing in common really, except both are mired in cultural controversy.  Did the Louvre really banish it for being too provocative and is Unesco worth leaving?

I ended up treading into both this past week.     We all see what we want to see based on previous concepts, so being controversial brings out a diversity of opinions.

I have always been more interested in building bridges of  understanding and soothing conflicts rather than digging trenches of division.

It is just how I am wired, and as a therapist it fits my own core mission.

I have never considered my own personal opinion to be worth shoving down someone else’s throat, except maybe about food, but that’s another story.

Especially now, I have zero interest or energy is trying to influence someone’s train of thought.  I have other concerns looming in my horizon.

There must be a lot of you reading these words that  have a greater comprehension in contemporary art than I do.

Likewise, I know many of you have very opinionated and divergent views along political lines affecting American domestic and foreign policies.   I definitely have no desire to tread in those murky snake filled waters.

My first  visit to Unesco, which by the way is based in Paris, was on my social agenda well before finding out that America had pulled her participatory plug.

I sort of knew or thought I knew what Unesco did, but honestly it never really ever occupied much of my thought.

Unesco stands for United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.  Their website is pretty impressive to look over, filled with wonderful global humanitarian themes.

Their motto is “Building peace in the minds of men and women”.  Sounds marvelous to my ears,  however utopian it is.  If only ……….

Unesco is composed of 195 countries, and 10 associate countries, all who come there with the intent of promoting their individual cultural, scientific and educational attributes that are needed of being preserved for future generation to come.

I briefly took a glance at the International Cultural Heritage and was wowed by the various artistic, lingual, architectural, historical, etc that I did not know even existed! Very impressive!

Certainly you must have noticed some signs saying “This is a Unesco World Heritage Site”.  Well, these attributions are decided upon and designated as such by this organisation.

If it wasn’t for their efforts to safeguard these sites or activities, then they would probably be destroyed in the name of paving the way for the future.

One of things I very much appreciate in Europe is the striving to recognise and value old structure and sites as being worthwhile enough to maintain them because they are considered masterpieces of cultural identity.

The goal of Unesco is very wonderful and worthwhile in my opinion and with all the missile threats and ongoing strife and wars flaring, is desperately needed.

I had an invitation to attend a celebration of Hungarian folk music and dance of the composer Zoltan Kodály at Unesco.

Usually these Hungarian events are held at the Hungarian Institute here, so I wondered why they scheduled it at Unesco.

Having never been before, I  was eager to go and had I gotten there earlier,  would have been able to capture more photos.

Kodály was not only a composer, but was instrumental in developing a novel approach in music education, called the Kodály method.

This method was listed by Unesco as an Intangible Cultural Heritage and that is why the 50th anniversary of his death was commemorated at Unesco.

After going through airport rigorous  control, now practically the norm here, I immediately liked the prevailing energy of the place.

Unesco is composed of 195 countries, and 10 associate countries, all who come there with the intent of promoting their individual cultural, scientific and educational attributes that are needed of being preserved for future generation to come.

I briefly took a glance at the International Cultural Heritage and was wowed by the various artistic, lingual, architected that I did not know even existed! Very impressive!

The concert was lovely, given in the main auditorium used by the Unesco ambassadors with translation portal plugins, like the UN, so the chairs were super comfortable.

I had to miss the post concert offering of Hungarian wines and tidbits, because I had made restaurant reservation and was already running late.

After visiting Unesco, I felt disturbed in reading the down things that I did not know about having taken place.    Mainly this was around it having an anti Israel bias.

In the Washington Post , Jared Genser, a human rights lawyer based in Washington D.C.,  states that Unesco “offered textbook lessons in bad management”, had “advanced the agendas of numerous dictatorships” and has “virulent anti-Israel bias”.

He went on to report that they “stood silent while Hamas bulldozed the Anthedon seaport” , a World Heritage site.

They also had denied all historical Jewish connections to Jerusalem and had referred to the Temple Mount as exclusively a “Muslim Holy Site”.

These are all disconcerting in my view, and I fervently hope that the new director Audrey Azoulay who is set to take over next month and pledges to restore Unesco to its core missions, will rectify these unjust positions.

The bottom line is that the goal of Unesco is a worthwhile  humanitarian effort towards peaceful recognition of different countries cultural treasures.

Is the UN and Unesco an impossible goal? Is peace an impossible goal? I sometimes think that this planet will never be unified on anything, unless humanity as we know it will be threatened from beyond our planet earth.

As an extension to my Unesco evening, I chose to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant for more cultural divergence.

I loved the spongy flatbread called injera, made with teff flour.  It had a wonderful  tangy flavour, reminiscent of sourdough that goes perfectly with the highly spiced Ethiopian stews.

All is eaten with your right hand.  The injera is the plate on which Ethiopian foods are served and it is always the utensil that you use to scoop up the food to your mouth.

It took a little getting use to, especially not dropping it all on my clothes by leaving over the plate, but there was something comforting eating it with my hand.

The fermented honey “wine” was not too sweet and had a very pleasant citron taste.  All in all, a  wonderful way to “travel” to this exotic land.

The Louvre controversy wasn’t on my radar at all last Friday, when I stumbled upon the Domestikator.

Instead, I had pansies on my mind and was on my way to Leroy Merlin, near the Pompidou Center to see if they had some after looking along the Quai Magesserie.

I had read the Louvre museum had refused to allow the Dosmestikator to be displayed near by in the Tuileries garden, but the Pompidou welcomed it with open arms.

Why? Supposedly because the Louvre considered this piece of art to be inappropriate for their grounds, fearing that it could be “misinterpreted”.

My immediate impression of laying my eyes on it as I turned the corner in front of the Pompidou, was of it being a whimsical wooden playhouse.

The interior was lit and you could climb inside much like you find on children’s playgrounds.   It looked more Lego boxy than “suggestive” to me.

Yes, of course if you are expecting it to look like a couple copulating, well indeed, you could “see” the implication.

The Dutch artist Joep Van Lieshout, described his artwork as man “domesticating nature”.  It had been shown in Germany without any prevailing controversy up until now.

In a letter to the director of the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, or Fiac, the Louvre expressed concern that due to previous circulating remarks on the net, it could be seen as too explicit by their traditionally minded public.

I can’t believe that the Louvre canceled out on the Domestikator because of it being misinterpreted as being too “sexually suggestive”.

As a stark reminder to how laughable this is, you only have to go through  several halls of European Sculptures at the Louvre.

These  halls are filled with monumental males nude sculptures with such in your face anatomical correct male genitals that they probably give many a man a complex just strolling through!

Not to mention many paintings and other sculptures  in the Louvre that could likewise be interpreted as “suggestive”.

Officially  the French are extremely diplomatic to a fault, and often  use flowery words to disguise their original intent.

The Louvre has a very high reputation to maintain.   You will only find  works of art that have been acclaimed to be worldwide masterpieces of historical and artistic  proportions.

I can only suspect that the Louvre did not want the Dosmestikator in the first place because it did not measure up to what the directors consider their high bar of excellency.

It was probably more diplomatic to blame their decision on it being too”suggestive”.  The bottom line is that the Louvre collection is too classy to be associated with it.

The fit wasn’t there, but that type of art does go well at the Pompidou Center, which excels in contemporary art.

How we “perceive” others and art can be directly reflective of our “projections”.  Projections are a psychological term employed to mean “projecting” our own personal fears, feelings and thoughts onto others or objects.

That is why the Rorschach test was thought to be a useful guide into someone’s psyche. Our perception of people and objects are influenced or contaminated to some degree by our own inner feelings and thoughts.

So when I hear someone express a controversial opinion, I realise that the opinion was made by several components of how that person learned to see the world,  his perception of himself in relation to the world, his cultural education and how open and diverse he is.

As to my own humble two cents worths on Unesco, I have always valued seeing America as being in the forefront of global leadership, an advocate for the establishment of  peaceful coexistent.

Leaving Unesco seems to me like throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Change can better be  gained by working within an organization,  and being a powerful change agent.

I hope Unesco can  patch up their incongruities and banish whatever political bias they have against Israel and get back to their core mission of safeguarding the earth’s historical and geographical masterpieces with cultural justice and sensitivity.

As for the Louvre, I love the place and for me, am always overwhelmed with the exquisite beauty my eyes can see.  They are definitely not prudish, just classically oriented, but that is just fine with me.