Thursday, July 16, 2009
BERLIN (AFP) – German prosecutors said Thursday they had launched an enquiry into whether a garden gnome with its right arm raised in a Hitler salute in a Nuremberg art gallery is against the law.
“The investigation is ongoing and people are being interviewed,” Wolfgang Traeg, a spokesman for the public prosecutors office in the southern city, told AFP.
Hitler salutes and Nazi symbols have been illegal in Germany since World War II, but Traeg said that investigators may establish that the garden gnome is in fact ridiculing the Third Reich.
“It is also a question of art a bit… and a garden gnome,” Traeg said. “It will also depend on what the artist and the owners of the gallery have to say for themselves about the whole thing.”
The artist in question is German-born Ottmar Hoerl, who has designed numerous exhibitions and projects in public spaces including the large blue euro sculpture in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.
“I was a bit surprised that this gnome has produced a reaction like this. Until now everyone has understood it.” Hoerl told AFP, calling his artwork “an image of the German master race.”
Full story here.