Now someone genius has managed - Banksy style - to deposit nude paintings of the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Brian Cowen onto the walls of the into the Royal Hibernian Academy and the National Gallery in Dublin. In the RHA, Cowen is pictured in the nude, holding his underpants - in the National Gallery, he's shown sitting on the toilet. News reports say that the Gardai (Irish police) are, eh, on the job, but it's difficult to grasp what crime has actually been committed.
On the 23 March 2009 Nine News, we carried a report on the illicit hanging of caricatures of the Taoiseach in two Dublin galleries. RTE news would like to apologise for any personal offence caused to Mr Cowen or his family or for any disrespect shown to the office of Taoiseach by our broadcast.
On his show this morning, [Ray] D'Arcy said the show's producer Will Hanafin had spoken with the garda who had told him that "the powers that be want action taken".
Mr Hanafin said he was told that the Gardaí wanted the name and contact details of the artist so they could caution him and when he declined to pass the information on, he was told a warrant might be sought to get access to the show's emails.
This is getting ridiculous. The entire population - man, woman and child, should all march on Government Buildings naked, holding our underpants aloft in protest at well, everything, including this bullshit.
"Down with that sort of thing, and down with your underpants too. Careful now."
Update 1800 hrs on March 25th:
Conor Casby, a 35-year-old school teacher from Dublin, voluntarily accompanied investigators to a police station to be interviewed. It is understood he was not arrested. PA has said a file is being prepared, which could be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Mr Casby issued a statement to the Today FM radio station in which he said would "like to draw an end to this by offering the portraits to the highest bidder and donate the proceeds to charity".
Will Hanafin, the show's [Ray D'Arcy Show's] producer, said the detective told him the investigation was looking at three potential offences of indecency, incitement to hatred and criminal damage, which was hammering a nail into a gallery wall.
Weirdly, RTE refers to the fact that the picture was glued to the wall - which sounds much more likely than hammering a nail in!
Update March 27th:
Misery guts John Waters gets up on his high donkey. Do The Irish Times actually pay him for this shit?
The only amusing thing here is Casby's deluded belief that he has something to say. His response is typical of a public discourse almost fatally degraded by internet auto-eroticism and an obsession with what is called "comedy". His works are crude, unfunny, vindictive, without intrinsic content and wholly lacking in artistic merit.
Meanwhile, Cearta.ie has an interesting discourse on the legal aspects of the whole 'cowengate' thing: "In the circumstances, I find it difficult to see what crime the artist committed." Cowengate and Freedom of Expression »
Excellent commentary from Ann Marie Hourihane in The Irish Times, which at least balances the drivel that John Waters was spouting last week:
Surely the point is not that RTÉ news should not have apologised for making us laugh, but that it doesn't apologise enough. As the nation hangs on that well-worn cusp between tears and laughter, RTÉ news is pretty well guaranteed to render the licence-payer helpless with mirth - and not just when it is performing its devastatingly accurate impersonation of Soviet state television.
The artist whose nude portraits of Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister, caused a political furore after they were hung briefly in two of Dublin's most celebrated art galleries has handed the police a series of other satirical works featuring the nation's politicians.
Fintan O'Toole hits the nail on the in The Irish Times (although I understand there was no nail, just some class of adhesive used):
Bulges-and-all portraits of naked, fleshy people are actually rather in vogue at the moment: think of Lucien Freud's portraits of Leigh Bowery and Sue Tilley or Daniel Mark Duffy's portrait of Nell McCafferty in all her glory, which also hung at the RHA recently. If Casby was potentially guilty of "indecency", why did Duffy not have his collar felt?