What the BLEEP? Shocking art at the National Gallery

Rabbit, 1996, by Jeff Koons (Photo: The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, Los Angeles, Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles)

Scandal alert! When the National Gallery’s summer blockbuster, Pop Life, opens on June 11, at least a few racy artistic oeuvres will have Ottawa’s would-be censors all a-twitter. A portrait of a nude Brooke Shields, aged 10, has already been removed from the program. But that still leaves Jeff Koons’ photographic blow-ups of porn star La Cicciolina. Pop Life is about pop art — and as the megastars of pop art well know, a whiff of scandal is just the thing to draw crowds. As a preamble to the main event, Paul Gessell looks back at past art shows that have offended local sensibilities