People Using Art to Disrupt

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Uncategorized, What I'm Seeing and Hearing | 0 comments

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 –, Public Domain,]