ART

Franco foundation plans to sue over “offensive” sculpture

Organization also pursuing criminal charges against artist Euginio Merino Work depicts Generalísimo encased in a fridge wearing full military garb

The vicepresident of the Francisco Franco Foundation, Jaime Alonso, takes photos of the offending work at ARCO.
The vicepresident of the Francisco Franco Foundation, Jaime Alonso, takes photos of the offending work at ARCO.BARRENECHEA (EFE)

The National Francisco Franco Foundation is refusing to play it cool over a controversial sculpture of the former Spanish dictator standing in a soft drinks refrigerator.

The organization has said it plans sue to artist Eugenio Merino over his work Always Franco, which consists of a detailed model of the Generalísimo, in full military garb, in a fridge decorated in Coca-Cola-style colors.

The work, now on show at the Arco contemporary art fair in Madrid, “is an offense that no modern civilization can tolerate,” said executive vice-president of the Franco Foundation, Jaime Alonso, adding that the sculpture “generates hate.”

“His statements generate more hate,” responded Merino. “My work is not offensive.”

Alonso was at Arco on Thursday, accompanied by a notary, to take photos of the work, which he will attach to a civil lawsuit to be presented in the coming days.

The Foundation is also studying the possibility of pursuing criminal action against Merino.

Earlier on Thursday, Madrileña artist Elena Asins issued a complaint against San Sebastián’s Altxerri gallery for putting a 2001 series of her works on sale at Arco without her permission. Asins, the winner of last year’s National Art Prize, said she had not signed the eight “defective” drawings because she did not recognize them as part of her intellectual work. “Not only are they selling work without my permission, or signature, which is sufficiently serious, but they didn’t even want to consult me about the works they were taking to the fair, nor the prices.”

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