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article imageOp-Ed: ‘Civilization’ strikes again — Woman attacks a Gauguin

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By Paul Wallis     Apr 5, 2011 in Arts
Washington - A woman tried to destroy one of Gauguin’s most famous paintings, Two Tahitian Women at the Washington National Gallery, because it showed “nudity and homosexuality”. She also claimed to be from the CIA and to have a radio in her head.
Whatever the reason for the attack, the woman has been charged with damage to the fittings of the gallery and attempting to steal the Gauguin. She’s been described as “unstable”, and threatening to kill an unspecified person in a press quote.
Gauguin himself wouldn’t have been overly surprised by this incident, and nor would many of the other great artists, inflicted with the putrefying, insular and expediently moralistic stenches of their societies. His brutalized life was full of incidents of artistic destruction, including his friend Van Gogh and the fact that his “friends” didn’t bother to tell him his son was dead. Cezanne spent most of his life on the receiving end of the French middle class version of “culture”, which was as peasant-like a perspective of art as the most rabid art vandal.
It’s unlikely the CIA has set itself up as an art critic. This is just one of the regular attacks on great works of art reported every year. The Mona Lisa has been attacked several times. This woman wasn’t the usual pathetic self centered artistic nut raging about “true art”, but a down-home self-appointed moralist.
It’s a matter of opinion which is more annoying or destructive, artistic messiahs or moralists. The basic fact is that moralists hate art as much as they seem to hate life. Everything, including apparently traditional Tahitian clothing and two women being in the same place at the same time, is viewed through the microscopically narrow lens of morals, usually based on monotheist dogma.
The common denominator in attacks on works of art is the level of narrow mindedness required to carry the attacks out. It’s as if these otherwise apparently mindless, useless efforts are obsessive.
Art is bigger than idiots, however self righteous, and so is life. However, a wider point has to be made- These drab little nano-brained vandals are trying to rob the world of its heritage. Fools can be replaced, but great art like Gauguin’s can’t. It's about time vandalism of this type was seen for what it is, a betrayal of humanity's greatest outlet of expression.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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