The Italian Almanac

frog art

Hunger Strike over a Frog

An Italian local politician on hunger strike over a sculpture of a crucified frog fell ill and was admitted to hospital. Franz Pahl, the president of Trentino-Alto Adige's regional council, had refused to eat for eight days in a bid to get the sculpture by late German artist Martin Kippenberger removed from public display at Bolzano's modern art museum, Museion.

Pahl says the work, which features a warty, pop-eyed amphibian nailed to a cross with a frothing mug of beer in one hand and an egg in the other, is offensive to the religious feelings of Alto Adige's population, which is 99% Catholic. The councillor was taken to hospital by police escort after feeling unwell during the night, although doctors say his condition is not serious.

Kippenberger's work has been at the centre of furious polemics since it went on display in the town at the end of May. So far museum officials have refused to take down the sculpture.