Tartu museum to pull videos by Polish artist after criticism from Jewish community, state institutions
After criticism from broad swaths of society, the Tartu Art Museum said Wednesday evening it would stop displaying two videos by a Polish artist that explore Holocaust-related themes.
Museum director Rael Artel apologized to visitors who were caused emotional distress by the videos and said it was not the goal of the museum.
"The topic is complicated and emotionally difficult. Without intending to, we offended the Jewish community by displaying these works. We ask for forgiveness. The time is not ripe to treat these historically painful themes by way of provocative artworks."
The controversy was sparked by works from past decades: "The Game of Tag" by Artur Zmijewski, a Polish artist (1999) and "80064" (2004), shown in an exhibition with works by several other artists, including Estonia's Marko Mäetamm.
The Tartu Art Museum had previously said it stopped exhibiting the Polish artist’s problematic videos and would only show them accompanied by the curator’s commentary to individuals on request. But the Jewish community was not satisfied with the compromise.
Culture Minister Urve Tiidus and a number of other government representatives had sided with the community, and the Muslim community in Estonia also issued a statement in support of the Jewish community on the matter.