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Offline Danee

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A painting at the Gauguin exhibit at the National Gallery was attacked last week by a gallery visitor, provoking considerable commotion, according to other museum visitors and gallery officials




Screaming “This is evil,” a woman tried to pull Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women” from a gallery wall Friday and banged on the picture’s clear plastic covering, said Pamela Degotardi of New York, who was there.

“She was really pounding it with her fists,” Degotardi said. “It was like this weird surreal scene that one doesn’t expect at the National Gallery.”

Gallery spokeswoman Deborah Ziska said no damage to the 1899 painting was immediately apparent after the 4:45 p.m. incident. But she said a more thorough examination will be conducted Monday.

In the painting, both breasts of one woman are exposed, as is one of the second woman’s breasts.

The woman who allegedly attacked the painting was “immediately restrained and detained” by the museum’s federal protection ser­vices officers, who charged her with destruction of property and attempted theft, Ziska said in a statement.

The painting’s alleged attacker was “tackled by a guy who was visiting the gallery,” Degotardi said. She described him as a social worker from the Bronx.

Ellen Goldstein of Washington, who was visiting the exhibit with Degotardi, said she was in an adjacent room at the time and heard “screaming and shouting.”

The incident “was a scary, scary thing for everyone who was there,” Goldstein said.

The suspect in the attack, who was not identified by name, was presented in court on Saturday, according to Ziska’s statement. Details of the court appearance were not immediately available.

The painting, which measures 37 inches by 281 / 2 inches, is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is part of a 120-piece Gauguin exhibit that opened at the National Gallery in late February. Titled “Gauguin: Maker of Myth,” it is to run through June 5.

The room that housed the painting also included 13 other Gauguin works. There was no indication of any damage to the other works there.

Ziska said she could recall no similar incident in 20 years. However, one incident of vandalism occurred in 1974, when a man ripped a wood-backed painting from its mounting and used it to smash a Renaissance-era folding chair into 30 pieces. Over a three-month period, from 1978 to 1979, an assailant used a sharp instrument to deface 25 works of art, including paintings by Henri Ma­tisse and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. A Washington Post report from the time described the damage as minor.

More recently, in 1998, two Ma­tisse paintings on loan from the National Gallery to the Capitoline Museums in Rome were damaged with a pencil.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 02:04:12 pm by Danee »
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Offline Danee

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And, another article on this subject:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/2011/04/04/AFxqjPfC_story.html

There are some things for which you can’t find a security barrier

By Petula Dvorak, Monday, April 4, 8:08 PM

At the National Gallery of Art on Monday, visitors gathered around the blank wall with a little pockmark in it, staring and shaking their heads.

Every so often, someone would try to take a picture of the empty space but was stopped by a security guard, whose chest was maybe a bit more puffed up than usual.

“No cameras. No cameras, please,” he said, crisply.

Then he leaned over and told me: “It’s been really busy today. Everyone wants to see nothing.”

For Smithsonian groupies and guards, the Freaky Friday attack on an $80 million Paul Gauguin nudie painting was the ultimate red alert. The danger is in turning a rare episode of violence into a typical Washington security freakout.

Here are the particulars: an Alexandria woman named Susan J. Burns visited the gallery, which is free to the public, open to anyone, on her 53rd birthday, which also happened to be April Fools’ Day.

According to court documents, Burns walked through the gallery mezzanine and suddenly went after Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women,” pounding it with her fist and trying to pull it off the wall.

tanding about 12 feet away, a museum guard sprang into action and grabbed her, saving the iconic painting of two partially clothed women from the raging birthday girl.

After she was read her Miranda rights, Burns offered the officer her biting critique of the artist:

“I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity, and it is bad for the children. He had two women in the painting, and it’s very homosexual,” she told the officer, according to court papers.


Bingo. She’d just confirmed what everyone was buzzing about Monday.

“The nudity must’ve bothered her,” said a frustrated Igal Maoz, a New York artist who’d travelled to D.C. just for the Gauguin exhibit and was crestfallen when he learned that the painting had been removed for inspection after the attack.

“There are other paintings with even more nudity!” another visitor pointed out to me, and we walked over to another work, “Te Pape Nave” (“Delectable Waters”) and counted five bare breasts, not just the three that allegedly so unnerved Burns.

It’s not the first time someone has come undone over the sight of human mammaries — metal, oil or flesh — in the nation’s capital. Former attorney general John Ashcroft famously ordered drapes to shield the bare chest of an aluminum Lady Justice statue in the Department of Justice.

More recently, the guards at the Hirshhorn Museum were flustered by a woman who was breast-feeding her infant on an indoor bench.

Throughout any art museum, it’s difficult to avoid the naked human form.

Heck, you don’t even have to go inside the gallery to confront more full-frontal nudity than HBO offers. Few school groups have walked past the Court of Neptune Fountain outside the Library of Congress without noticing the lusty, bronze features of the cavorting bunch.

No, even if we do wig out over the occasional risque work, Washington wouldn’t be able to follow Burns’s ethos and completely do away with public displays of nudity.

(Of course, The Washington Post’s Web site offered increasingly modest photos of the painting as the story progressed over the day.)

Still, there’s no way our angst about nakedness rivals our fears over security. How long will it be before someone suggests placing bollards around every one of the National Gallery’s thousands of works of art? Perhaps glass cases or walls would keep these treasures safe. Or maybe an alarm system surrounding every painting?

After all, this is one of the few places in the world where anyone can walk in, free of charge, and stand inches away from cultural treasures. Aside from a simple purse search, getting access to priceless stuff in Washington is easier than weaving through cherry blossom traffic jams.

“We really don’t believe in placing barriers between the art and people,” said gallery spokeswoman Deborah Ziska. “Our guards do an amazing job.”

Indeed, they do. I’ve never once visited the gallery without a guard’s tractor beam locking in on my small children, watching their every move. They can mind-read a toddler’s idea to climb a sculpture long before he’s trundled close to any tempting Calder.

No, there is no need for more metal detectors or wand searches or scanners to keep our national treasures safe.

Just listen to what Burns allegedly told the guard once she was cuffed, and you’ll know there was no way to stop her attack:

“I am from the American CIA, and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.”

Security barriers aren’t always the answer to protect us from danger. Sometimes, a little bit of help for a troubled soul will do the trick
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Offline Jann

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All the high-tech security in the world will not prevent this sort of attack.  Maybe they should have trained squirrels stationed at the entrances to identify the nuts.
Millions of years of evolution have combined to produce me. 
I'm rather hoping that I don't bugger it up in one lifetime.

Offline NaturalInNY

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“I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity, and it is bad for the children. He had two women in the painting, and it’s very homosexual,” she told the officer, according to court papers.
This is what crazy people actually believe.  :786

Offline Leah

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A museum spokesman called it a "nudie painting"?

Gaugin is a supreme and sublime artist - the woman should be shot at dawn.
I may be nude but at least my mind is open

Offline blu333y3s

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This kind of stuff really worries me, how on earth can humanity survive through closed minded fundamentalist tripe! I could go on however I don't want to breach the guidelines of the forum.

I accept that people have views on all different subjects and should be able to express those views, however when said views prevent/impede the rights of others it get very murky.

Clearly this individual is a few sangas short of a picnic (Australian colloquialism).

Offline Daft

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Quote
The disturbing power of the nude


The art of Paul Gauguin is "evil" according to the woman who has attacked his 1899 painting Two Tahitian Women in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Susan Burns pummelled the painting in the Gauguin exhibition that has toured there from Tate Modern. Luckily it was protected by a Plexiglass shield. "I feel that Gauguin is evil," she apparently told police after the incident. "He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual."

Attacks on art are always horrible and rarely have any interesting content. Before overreacting to this one, we should note that Burns is also reported to have said she was from the CIA and had a radio in her head. We should also refrain from suggesting that since Two Tahitian Women normally hangs quite happily and unassailed in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, this seems like a case of the rest of the US being more uptight than Manhattan. Of course no such glib meanings can be found.

What is interesting is that once again, a great work of art has been singled out by an attacker because of its nudity and eroticism. Gauguin's painting joins the Rokeby Venus in London's National Gallery, slashed by a suffragette in 1914, and Rembrandt's Danaë in the Hermitage, attacked with acid in the 1980s, as powerful examples of the nude in painting that have endured violent assault over the years. Luckily the Gauguin was not damaged as these masterpieces were.

I am fascinated by such disturbing demonstrations of the potency and currency of the nude, a genre of art born in ancient Greece, revived in the Renaissance and still practised currently. If painting is seen by some people today as an outmoded, tame, conservative art, how can a painting of a naked body still enrage to this extent?

I think the painted or sculpted nude's power to shock and offend is proof that high art is still a living force. I would go further. In his famous 1970s television series and book Ways of Seeing, the critic John Berger drew analogies between the painted nude and modern exploitation of women's bodies. But in an age when new media supposedly have painting on the run, that argument works both ways. It is startling that paintings can work on the same level as dirty photographs – that fine art can so provoke and disgust some beholders.

The nude troubles people for a variety of reasons, from religious to political. I have no ideological view about it at all; I see no reason to "defend" it. I just love the fact that we can still be troubled and angered, or seduced, by this ancient art.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2011/apr/07/gauguin-painting-attacked-nude-art
A nova geração.

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A museum spokesman called it a "nudie painting"?

Gaugin is a supreme and sublime artist - the woman should be shot at dawn.
:345678


Offline Bobbert

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This seems like it could stray into the realm of emotional problems.