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.
Wait. It gets better.
The UK Daily Mail must have come out with the story later than WaPo, because it identifies the suspect and suggests a motive.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Washington, D.C. Superior Court, Burns said that the painting is ‘very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned … I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.’
The assault on the work of art on Friday was thwarted when Burns was reportedly tackled by another gallery-goer, a social worker from the Bronx.
She was soon detained by museum security and soon arrested and charged with destruction of property and attempted theft, according to Deborah Ziska, a gallery spokesman said.
Burns was brought before a judge on Saturday. She pleaded not guilty Saturday to a pair of misdemeanor counts related to the attempted Gauguin assault, including attempted second-degree theft and destruction of property.
No damage was immediately found to the French post-Impressionist artist’s work, estimated to be worth $80 million. It will go back on display on Tuesday.
Burns has been arrested several times on has convictions for carjacking, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and assault on a law enforcement office.
I’ll admit I thought Burns’ actions were politically motivated, until I read the article.
I’m going to go out of a limb here and suggest that Susan Burns "art attack" (pun intended) might have less to do with politics than with her mental state. Based on the information in the criminal complaint, her statements in court, and her record, It sounds like Ms. Burns has some mental health issues.
But wait, there’s more.
We know, or can make a pretty good guess about what motivated Susan Burns, and why bare nipples in a painting roused her anger.
So how does a local TV station cover a breaking news story about an $80 million Paul Gauguin masterpiece that was attacked at the National Gallery by a woman declaring that the painting’s semi-nudity is evil?
Well, if you’re Fox-owned-and-operated station WTTG, you blur out the nipples on the two semi-clad Tahitian women portrayed in the famous late-19th-century oil painting.
Only then, it kinda appears that Gauguin painted the women to be anatomically incorrect.
Granted, the WaPo article points out that the Fox affiliate did redeem itself with its late local news report on the painting’s return to the exhibit.
Meanwhile the local ABC affiliate WJLA placed a banner across the women’s nipples.
The CBS affiliate WUSA didn’t show the painting in its promos but did in its report.
The NBC affiliate WRC cropped out the nipples in its promo, but showed them in the broadcast.
The only think that’s clear out of all this is that we clearly haven’t gotten over seeing Janet Jackson’s nipple in 2004.
The only think I’m sure of is that I hope Susan Burns never visits Florence, Italy.
I’d hate for her to get her hands on David.