Kneepkens, who is also a poet, publicist, jurist and co-founder of the Stadspartij Rotterdam, supplied the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) with a total of 14 paintings that have been on exhibition in the ‘Faculty Club’, the 17th floor of the H-building. The Faculty Club is operated by the external catering company Van Der Linden and offers rooms for conferences and meetings and runs a restaurant.
Van Der Linden deemed seven of the 14 paintings as ‘racy’ and wanted them removed. After an intermediary of the EUR joined the debate, Van Der Linden decided to bring that number down to just two paintings that had to be removed.
Kneepkens is unable to comprehend the situation and admits “a small phallus is visible on (only) one of the paintings, but a magnifier is required for one to actually see it”. He then added that he thinks the Erasmus University is turning into a narrow-minded institution.
He is of the opinion that such paintings are “friendly, naive pieces with mild satire” and mentions a similar case at the Radboud University Nijmegen that removed the painting ‘Venus van Brussel’ by Elmer de Gruijl just a week ago. This happened after one single complaint by a cleaning lady that apparently ‘identified’ herself as the woman in the painting. (Source: de Gelderlander)
There was also a known case from 2010, where the town hall in Huizen removed two paintings by Ellen Vroegh after one or more complaints from employees who deemed the art to be controversial, allegedly concerning their cultural background. Even back in 1949 a controversial racy painting by Kees van Dongen was removed by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, only 9 days after it was first exhibited.
Hans van der Linden, owner at Van Der Linden, refused to give any comment.