meet Lars Vilks

This Swedish artist’s driftwood sculptures are a mixture of skill (the man knows how to wield a hammer) and abandon (the shear energy and focus it must take him to collect and assemble these driftwood behemoths leaves me dizzy and excited).  Vilks somehow circumvented Swedish building codes for these babies by selling the art to a private collector and declaring them a country unto themselves (not sure how that worked, I prefer to imagine Vilks standing at the top of one of his sculptures, waving a flag, and yelling “behold, I name you Landonia”.)  Anyway, that is what I’ve know and liked of the Lars Vilks story.  What I didn’t know, until my recent interest in controversial art, is the story of Lars Vilks the cartoonist.  
In 2007 Vilks displayed a series of cartoon drawings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed with a dog’s body.  People were angry!  Since then he’s had multiple threats on his life, including one Iraqi organization’s $150,000 reward offer to anyone willing to assassinate Vilks.  WOW!