domenica 30 novembre 2008

I'm back - and Santa is free!!!

I was not the only one being relocated in Rotterdam this month :) Paul McCarthy's Santa Claus found a new home as well.

The sculpture was at the center of a debate from a few years and appearently could not find its own proper position in the city. Until one day a group of shop owners, the Binnenweg Association, asked to adopt him and gave him a new place to stay in Eendrachtsplein, right in center of the city.

The statue, a six-meters-tall hybrid between Santa Claus and a garden gnome, who holds in his hands a bell and a giant buttplug/christmas tree, is meant to represent american's consumerism and commercial success. This huge kind of "devotional image" had its celebration day on November 28th, with a whole afternoon of events dedicated to "him".

The program included a more "formal" part: the screening of Paul McCarthy's "Painter" in the early afternoon and a lecture by Ton Bevers (Professor in Cultural Sociology at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University) on the history of the sculpture.

Then, the celebration became some kind of folk event: a parade with children and music followed the sculpture on its way to Eendrachtsplein. Of course SinterKlaas and Father Christmas were attending the event as well.

It was incredible to see how a controversial based on a contemporary art piece could become a social event bringing together many different kinds of people, mostly not connected to the artworld at all. The celebration went on and on with music, free food and champagne and some screenings of Paul McCarthy's videos much longer after the final installation of Santa Claus in the square.
Will we ever see something similar in Italy?