The Norwegian Cultural Council has sparked outrage by allocating NOK 37 million ($4.1 million) to a controversial artist whose radical behaviour on stage has ruffled quite a few feathers.
Norwegian artist Vegard Vinge is known for taking it to the extreme and is known for throwing faeces at the public and urinating on stage as part of his performances. In one instance, he sprayed paint out of his hindquarters and spread it across the canvas using a brush controlled by his very anus.
The Cultural Council cited the artists' grand plans in Norway and in Europe as the foundation of the grant. Together with concubine Ida Müller, Vegard Vinge runs the company Vinge/Müller, which produces theatrical performances. The NOK 37 million from the Cultural Council will be spread over 12 years to cover wages and production costs, which amounts to over NOK 3 million a year (over $330,000), the online newspaper Nettavisen reported.
A video posted by Facebook user Sløseriombudsmannen (“Squander Ombudsman”) envisaging Vinge making his art and featuring the Cultural Council and Culture and Equality Minister Trine Skei Grande giving ambiguous answers such as “think locally, act internationally” has gained traction on social media, gathering many irate comments.
The allocation was described as “madness” and “cultural psychosis”. Some couldn't believe their eyes and suggested it was “fake news”.
MP Jon Helgheim of the right-wing Progress Party pledged to do everything in his power to stop the government grant.
“Enough is enough! It's not my job to judge art, but if people want to spray paint out of their ass or want to look at it, they'll have to pay for it themselves. Taxpayers have worked hard for this money, some respect is expected. If Progress Party manages to get the plurality, we'll put and end to this,” Helgheim wrote.
Earlier this year, the Swedish stage artist Lars Morten Spångberg received a lot of attention after being awarded NOK 750,000 ($81,000) by the Norwegian Cultural Council. In a controversial performance from 2015, he juggled oranges and dildos, and took a print of his behind.