Swedish conceptual artist, Lars Vilks is the subject of an international Muslim denunciation for his artistic depictions. Known previously for large abstract sculptural pieces, more recently he has delved into some Islamic confrontational art which is clearly costing him his safety.
Today's ARTKABINETT collector members can safely view excerpts from a controversial video shown by him as well as the attack. Sometimes, our art savyy social network observes some ant-social activities.
Born in Helsingborg, Sweden, he earned a Ph.D. in art history from Lund University in 1987, and worked at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts from 1988 to 1993.
From 1997 to 2003, he was a professor in art theory at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. As an art theorist, Vilks is a proponent of the institutional theory of art.
Vilks became known in 1980 as the creator of the wooden sculptures Nimis and Arx, which are now located in the Kullaberg nature reserve in Höganäs Municipality, Skåne. In 1996, the small area where the sculptures are located was proclaimed by Vilks as an independent country named Ladonia.
Nimis was sold to Joseph Beuys as a means to circumvent the Swedish building code laws concerning unlawful building process. The sculpture of Nimis is now owned by concept artist Christo.
Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy
In 2007 Vilks was embroiled in an international controversy after he made a series of drawings depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog. The drawings were initially intended to be shown at a local art exhibition in the small town of Tällerud in Värmland, Sweden in July 2007 but were removed from the exhibition by the organisers, citing security concerns and fear of violence from muslims, shortly before its opening.
Following the first refusal, Vilks submitted the drawings to several other art galleries in Sweden, including the distinguished Gerlesborg School of Fine Art in Bohuslän where Vilks is a frequent lecturer, but all declined to show the drawings for the same reason.
The controversy gained international attention after the Örebro-based regional newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published one of the drawings on 18 August to illustrate an editorial on self-censorship and freedom of religion.
While several other leading Swedish newspapers had published the drawings at this time, this publication led to protests from Muslim organizations in Sweden as well as condemnations from several foreign governments including Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as by the inter-governmental Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which also called for the Swedish government to take "punitive actions" against Vilks.
Following this controversy, Vilks has been forced to live under police protection after having received several death threats, including a statement by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq which has offered up to $150,000 for his assassination.
On 9 March 2010, Colleen R. LaRose from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburbs had her federal indictment unsealed charging her with trying to recruit Islamic terrorists to murder Vilks.
The same day, seven people were arrested in Ireland over an alleged plot to assassinate Vilks.However, to the consternation of US and Swedish authorities four of the suspects were released without charge after 3 days in custody (they could have been held for questioning for up to seven days) and before investigations into their possible involvement in any assassination plot were completed.
One of Sooreh Hera's images featured in "Allah ho gaybar"
On 11 May 2010, Muslim protesters assaulted Vilks while he was giving a lecture about free speech at Uppsala University. The attacks started when a film about Islam and homosexuality that had been banned from YouTube was shown.
The film in question was Iranian artist Sooreh Hera's Allah ho gaybar. Vilks' glasses were broken but he did not suffer any serious injuries, and was escorted to safety by security, while a few of the protesters were detained by police.
Despite previous death threats, this was the first time violence against Vilks occurred.
A few days later, on 15 May 2010, Vilks' house in southern Sweden was attacked by arsonists. They smashed the windows and threw in bottles of gasoline. There was a small fire, but the house was not burned to the ground. Vilks was not at home at the time of the attack. Two men have been arrested.