Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Claude punched

Years ago when we were making an exhibition called When art hits the headlines, we came across the story of a guy who punched a Jacob Epstein sculpture of Lord Wavell at the Auckland Art Gallery. A student leapt forward and saved the bust crashing to the floor and the puncher was escorted out of the Gallery by a guard who later off-handedly told the press, “The sculpture affects people in different ways.”  It was just one of hundreds of accounts we found of the public interacting with art, sometimes for the good, sometimes not.  Definitely in the 'not' camp is the story of Andrew Shannon who punched a hole in Monet’s Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat in the Dublin National Gallery a couple of years back. No escorted walk to the door for Andrew. Billionaire Steve Cohen might be able to stick his elbow through a Picasso and in the way of billionaires simply have it repaired and move on (he did own it, after all), but this week Shannon got five years in jail. And in case he didn't get the keep-away-from-us message, he also landed a no-go on visiting museums for 15 months after his release.
Image: Monet’s Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat post punch