Art vandalism has been going on for some time.
There has always been a catch behind the acts of vandalism. Previously, the acts were based on distaste. Then it became political, and now some of the acts are purely based on the climate crisis. Some may argue why artworks are being vandalized. The fact is not all artworks, but a selected very few of them are the targets.
Artworks and artists who are globally recognized have some sort of impression in our minds. Think about Starry Night by Vincent Van Goh, the crown jewel of Dutch paintings, or The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, a symbol of love, compassion and character of Vienna—these are the sort of artworks being vandalized. Not only are such acts unthinkable, but also chaotic.
When the arts have an impact and are valued more than our mundane life, they get noticed by everyone.
Such a recent incident happened at the Musée du Louvre in Paris where the Mona Lisa hangs, the famous painting surrounded by a colossal bullet proof glass case. On May 29, 2022, the sleeping Mona Lisa was disturbed during visitation hours.
A man dressed like an old woman smeared cake on the bullet proof glass before trying to break it, and threw roses while being tackled by security.
The protester yelled, “Think about the Earth!” while being escorted out by security of the museum. This one statement made the whole incident a cry for climate crisis type of art vandalism.
Art vandalisms always make a certain buzz while the rest of the world scrutinizes other important things.
Just like Ai Weiwei broke a million-dollar Han Dynasty piece to make a clear statement that art can be constructed and deconstructed, the climate crisis is also part of nature’s destructive force.
Marcel Duchamp, the famous Dadaist artist, also mocked artworks by sending a urinal to the art exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists and named it Fountain. The true nature of the artwork was based on the concept of ready-made found objects for modern art constructivism.
Banksy’s shredding stunt at Sotheby’s art auction developed another criticism for the art world, that not all artworks are meant for the corporate world and they succumb to the greed of capitalist monarchy.
With respect to all these previous historical incidents, vandalized propaganda against such a famous artwork creates a butterfly effect. This makes us think if artworks are so important in our lives that they need to be protected, compared to the serious critical problems of the world.
The statue David, an enormous sculpture by Michelangelo, can be used as a prime example, as well as the Mona Lisa itself.
The sculptor of David, a biblical character from the story of David and Goliath in the Bible, is a gigantic artwork created by Michelangelo. The sculpture was protected during World War II with a brick silo to protect it from bombs and an anti-seismic platform was built under it to protect it from earthquakes and eight million tourists every year.
Mona Lisa on the other hand was first close to being stolen by someone cutting it with a razor which resulted in it being later protected by a glass. The glass was later shattered by someone throwing a rock and damaging the painting minorly. Therefore, a bulletproof glass was built around it which also got vandalized by spray paint and very recently by smearing cake.
Artworks throughout the world have high value, and throughout history people have used their ability to protect them properly. If humans become more responsible towards Mother Nature just like the creations of artists, serious issues like the climate crisis could be resolved with more care.