Friday, March 20, 2009

OPINION: Thoughts on Vandalism

This is in response to a question submitted by Janet Van Fleet and posted on February 23, 2009. Further responses will be posted as they are received.

By Nicholas Buckalew

There are no grand reasons for the vandalism of artwork. Rather, the explanation for wanton destruction of public displays comes down to a very basic principle: people have a great ability for being foul.

Perhaps artists that have had their works violated want to believe that there is a reason for their piece's deaths grand enough to parallel the eminence of their creation's life. However, as someone that has destroyed public artwork in my formative years, I can tell you that the reasons are lamentably basic: inebriation, greed, boredom, apathy. These are the feelings that I have seen most frequently guiding the hands that are laid violently upon works of art. I have seen it in myself, I have seen it in my companions.

Art is not destroyed because people envy beauty, or because the aggressors see it as a way of expressing themselves, or any other such romantic idea. Art is destroyed because people are often selfish and destructive in nature. As long as people are intrinsically themselves, art will continue to be vandalized. So there.

Above: Michelangelo's Pieta was brutally attacked in 1972, by demented Australian geologist Laszlo Toth yelling "I am God!"