The Czech presidency of the European Union on Tuesday pulled a black curtain over the part of its art exhibition that portrays Bulgaria as a squat toilet.
The huge three-dimensional “Entropa” mosaic, which hangs over the entrance to the main EU Council building, depicts each of the EU’s 27 countries using provocative symbols linked to national stereotypes.
Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, has protested loudly against being depicted as a toilet.
“We have covered the part devoted to Bulgaria at its request,” said Czech presidency spokesman Jan Vytopil.
The exhibition, commissioned by the Czech presidency, has provoked much laughter and some anger.
Critics say it is distasteful and has no place in an official setting. But advocates argue it stimulates debate and tests EU nations’ ability to laugh at themselves.
It will hang until the end of the Czech presidency in June.
The mosaic caused even more controversy last week when its creator, Czech artist David Cerny, admitted he deceived his government into believing it was the work of artists from all 27 EU member states.
The exhibit depicts the Netherlands as a sea with minarets rising from the waves: a likely reference to religious tensions that culminated in the murder of Dutch director and Islam critic Theo van Gogh by a Muslim militant in 2004.
Italy is a football ground with players making gestures that resemble masturbation.
Poland, a staunchly Roman Catholic country, has priests waving a rainbow flag, a symbol of inclusiveness and diversity as well as pride for gay communities.
Eurosceptic Britain does not feature in the exhibit.