Swedish uni in ‘Dirty Dancing’ quote furore

The rector of Karlstad University in central Sweden has been forced to defend the decision to adorn a new library building with a well known quote from the 1980s movie "Dirty Dancing".

Swedish uni in 'Dirty Dancing' quote furore

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is the quote etched into the front of the new library at the Swedish seat of learning, a line made famous by Patrick Swayze in the surprise smash hit from 1987.

The choice of the artwork, instead of one featuring a message more closely associated to academia, has however been met with dismay from some quarters.

A Facebook thread dedicated to the white neon artwork has been filled with scathing comments of the message and the money spent on it, according to the local Nya Wermlands Tidning (NWT).

“This is the most stupid thing I have seen in ages,” wrote one angry poster.

But University rector Åsa Bergenheim has defended the artwork, which cost the university 170,000 kronor ($25,500).

“There are always critical voices when it the university is concerned. Words are obviously very controversial as art,” she told NWT.

Bergenheim underlined that the piece was funded by a donation and and that she felt the message suited the university perfectly.

“It means that we straighten our backs and give our best – because we are capable,” she said, adding that it is a universal message that could apply to the whole of Sweden.

While the immortal cinematic words are already in place on the façade of the new library, the artwork will be formally inaugurated on August 29th.

The piece has been created by Moa and Mikael Krestesen from Umeå in northern Sweden and according to the artists the intention is, among other things, to encourage young girls and women to take space.

TT/The Local/pvs

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Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.


In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.