Venice Biennale mosque installation shut down by police
Artist Christoph Büchel's mosque installation at the Santa Maria della Misercordia church in Venice has been officially shut down by local authorities.
As part of the Icelandic Pavillion at the Venice Biennale, the installation would have been allowed to remain for seven months, but law enforcement officials insist that it was meant to be an art installation, not a place of worship.
Hundreds of people per day have been using the church as a place of worship, exceeding health and safety capacity regulations for the space. Due to this, an official notice has been posted on the door, and the organizers have 60 days to appeal.
In response, The Icelandic Art Center, the commissioner for the project, released a statement explaining that "'The Mosque’ is intended to shed light on institutionalized segregation and prejudices in society, including the conflicts that arise due to policies regarding immigration, which are pivotal in national and religious disputes all over the world.”