People Using Art to Disrupt
Belgian climate activists have been sentenced to two months in prison, with one months suspended, after one man tried to glue his head to Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in the Mauritshuis Museum in the Hague, Netherlands.
The painting was not damaged.
A few weeks earlier, activists in London threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s glass-covered “Sunflowers.” That painting was not damaged either.
These are acts of desperation, meant to call attention to the potential (and on-going) destruction of what we hold dear: great art, those who make it, the world itself.
An excellent article in “Why Glue Your Head to a Painting?” discusses these efforts in greater and provocative depth. Most movingly, I was reminded of Nam June Paik’s 1962 “One For Violin” performance piece. It is painful to watch this effort, undertaken in the early days of U.S. intervention in Vietnam: for five long minutes the viewer waits, imagining on the artist’s arms must ache as we dread the inevitability of the outcome.
[By Johannes Vermeer – https://www.mauritshuis.nl/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55017931]