We sent our standard provocative email to Patrick Murphy, director of the RHA gallery:
we propose to publish an article shortly, ridiculing you personally for your lack of humour, lack of perspective and absence of artistic understanding in referring the Conor Casby affair to an Garda Siochana.
It seems fair to offer you the opportunity to comment in advance of publication.
Patrick is an admirable fellow, as it turns out, and replied as follows:
Free country, free speech work away.
Casby’s Cowan caricature was on view in our portrait gallery for 20mins on the afternoon of Saturday March 7th. We simply removed it and put it on a shelf in the office.
It was not until the Sunday Tribune on March 22 and the subsequent RTE coverage on Monday that the RHA was implicated in the event. We did not approach the Garda, they actually approached us by calling to say they wished to take a statement and remove the pieces.
By the way bit ironic isn’t it that you intend â€œridiculing you personally for your lack of humour, lack of perspective and absence of artistic understanding in referring… â€œ
Always thought the best satire was based on fact,
He’s right of course. We were winding him up as we have done with many others, and we sent him a note of apology for taking the piss.
But look what he has to tell us.
The RHA did not complain to the Gardai. The Gardai called to the gallery after the Tribune article and said they wanted to take a statement and remove the painting.
So there you go. The Guards were acting, it seems, on political instruction, and not on a complaint from the gallery.
Now then. What do you make of that?
The only possible offence involved in this whole matter is trespass,and the RHA did not complain to the police about such an offence, although the National Gallery did, it seems.
So therefore, since no offence was reported at the RHA, why were the Gardai there at all, why did they want a statement and why did they seize Conor Casby’s painting?
All Bock posts on Cowen HERE