A fashionable Whitechapel art gallery has pulled the plug on an exhibition by an artist who has been described as a “Holocaust denier” and a “white supremacist,” after complaints and threats were made.
Charles Krafft, who denies both charges, was due to show his work at StolenSpace for the second time, but gallery bosses said they pulled out after receiving “both physical and verbal threats”.
Krafft’s controversial ceramics include busts of Hitler, swastika perfume bottles with the word “forgiveness” emblazoned upon them and plates covered in drawings of Nazi bombings. His work and attributed comments has led to him being labelled a white supremacist, a Nazi sympathiser and a Holocaust denier.
A gallery spokeswoman said the decision was made on Tuesday morning, after visitors and supporters raised concerns.
“Whilst we have listened diligently to Charles Krafft’s explanations surrounding the controversy of past interviews, it was naive of StolenSpace to think that this matter had been resolved and that the controversy would not follow him,” she said.
“Both physical and verbal threats have been made against the gallery and our staff, and although we do not believe in censorship or cyber bullying, we do respect the opinions and feelings about such sensitive matters. We therefore feel it is appropriate that the show is cancelled in light of this.”
Krafft said: “I am not a Holocaust denier. I haven’t denied that many Jewish people suffered and died during WWII. I’m also not a white supremacist. I only challenge the taboo that society cannot discuss certain events without seeming to be politically incorrect and thought criminal, such as conspiracy theories around 9/11 for example.”
Stolenspace, which exhibited his work in 2010, said it “has always embraced the power of art to be controversial, provocative and thought provoking, we believe it is what ‘art’ should be”.