CULTURE BLAST: Gauguin, Art Basel Hong Kong, and SXSW Sells Out

South By South Sellout?

The popular Austin music festival usually reserved for up and comers seemed somewhat diluted with main stream entertainment this year…

Calendar Changes For Art Basel

Art work horses and show ponies alike, make a change in your social calendars! Theories on why 2015’s Art Basel in Hong Kong is pushing to March.

Gaugin At The MoMA

MoMA nearly dismisses paintings as a medium in groundbreaking new Gauguin exhibit.

What’s In A Name?

I make art, but I’m certainly no artist. Why the label “artist” is a lost cause.

Gauguin Painting Attacker Claims to Be CIA Agent

Remember the woman who attacked a Gauguin painting at the National Gallery in D.C.? She’s a CIA agent! She also has a radio in her head. Or so she claims.

Susan Burns is an Alexandria, Virginia resident and a sworn enemy of Paul Gauguin. The Smoking Gun uncovered a criminal complaint in which Burns said, “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned.”

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

Apparently Burns tried to tear the painting from the wall and repeatedly hit it with her right fist. The painting has been analyzed and no damage has been found. This isn’t Burns’ first brush with the law — she’s been convicted of things like carjacking and assault on a police officer.

I suppose mental illness is no laughing matter, but “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you” — that’s pretty good. On a positive note, this is probably the most publicity Paul Gauguin’s gotten in a hundred years.

Woman Attacks Gauguin Painting at National Gallery

A visitor to the National Gallery in D.C. tried to pull Paul Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women” off the wall and destroy it last week, screaming “This is evil!” Did she take any time to look at the painting? It’s actually quite lovely!

I guess the problem must have been that there are a total of three breasts visible in the painting. They are Art breasts, though, and therefore not a big deal.

The woman reportedly pounded on the painting’s clear plastic covering with her fists, screaming and shouting. She was reportedly “tackled” by another gallery visitor and apprehended by security guards. People there at the time told the Washington Post that it was a “scary, scary thing for everyone who was there.”

This paragraph was interesting:

[Gallery spokeswoman] 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.

I’m actually kind of surprised this stuff doesn’t happen more often. The taboo against touching art on display is pretty ingrained, which makes it even more bizarre and fucked up when somebody breaks it, like the lady who cannot handle three Gauguin-rendered breasts, or the above-mentioned guy who smashed a chair with a painting (can you imagine?). Thankfully, “Two Tahitian Women” appears to be unharmed.