On the wrongness of vandalizing famous paintings

Well, attacks on famous paintings continue. Since the initial throwing of  tomato soup on VanGogh’s Sunflowers, we have had vandalism on a number of works, including someone recently pouring black liquid on a Gustav Klimt painting in Vienna .

I have to say that I hate these acts. I think they achieve little and the idea that we need this form of protest to gain attention to climate change is ludicrous. As they attacks continue what I fear is this: people who resort to destructive means to gain attention will resort to more drastic forms of destruction once the spotlight moves on.  So far the works have not been seriously damaged: there’s nothing to say it won’t escalate to that point.

In response to this, some museums are bringing on undercover cops. The people who targeted  Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring are going to jail. Needless to say, all museums are being much more strict about what can be brought into the galleries they provide.

That’s leads me to the other fear I have. Long after these protests have moved on, museums may end up becoming a much less open space for people to view works. One thing I love about museums is that I can walk right up to works of art and examine them closely for as long as I want. Others can take in their own art supplies and study and copy the works to become better artists. All that is due to the openness of museums. That could all be lost due to these protests.  And that would be a great loss for anyone who loves the visual arts.

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