Sweden’s culture minister clarified on Wednesday that she has no intention of resigning over photographs of her taking part in a performance art piece on female genital mutilation, which featured a cake shaped like a stereotypical African tribeswoman that screamed when it was cut into..
Images of the minister, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, smiling as she cut into the cake at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm on Sunday outraged the National Afro-Swedish Association, which described the performance as “a racist spectacle” and demanded the minister step down.
Ms. Liljeroth defended her participation in the event in a statement on the ministry’s Web site headlined, “Art Must Be Allowed to Provoke,” but also apologized for any unintentional offense she had caused and agreed to meet with leaders of the Afro-Swedish group on Wednesday afternoon.
Consider, if you will, the utter tastelessness of a cake shaped like an African tribeswoman who screams when you mutilate her fondant-covered pudenda. (And might I say that I take tasteless pleasure in having finally gotten the phrase “fondant-covered pudenda” into The American Conservative.) A “racist spectacle”? Surely not. But an offensive spectacle, surely.
Ah, but art must be allowed to provoke! This is always the first defense to which the moronic and the tasteless resort. The corollary is not permitted, however: members of the public are not allowed to be provoked.
Watch this video of the event, and of the cake (created, nota bene, by a black Swedish artist). It is vomitous. A minister of state has no reason dignifying this insulting garbage with her presence. Still, it is delicious watching the various liberal constituencies there getting worked up over this: