Archive for August 16th, 2011

This painted, The Plumed Hat, from the artist Henri Matisse was attcked the other day at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.  There wasn’t any apparent damage to the painting itself after the attacker took it by the frame and slammed it a few times against the wall.

That in itself is not that interesting except when one note that the attacker was the same woman who had attempted to deface Two Tahitian Women from  Paul Gauguin at the same museum in April of this year.  After being tackled while trying to protect the Gauguin painting from its protective plexiglass case she was quoted as saying, “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.”

It’s pretty rare when the same person makes such an attempt at the same museum.  With the Gauguin there seemed at least a hint of her motivation in trying to destroy the painting that she described as “evil” and “homosexual.”  To some, could the the idea of two bare-breasted women standing next to one another might be perceived as evil?  I guess.  And could the idea of one woman looking over at the other could be seen as homosexual to some folks?  I suppose, although I think she is actually casting a hungry eye at that watermelon.

But why attack this Matisse?  There is nothing overtly evil or gay in  it that would offend delicate sensibilities.  It’s hardly provocative in any way.  Or attractive.  It’s not a piece I would give much thought to in any way, other than thinking it is definitely not one of Matisse’s finest examples, at least in my eyes.  I don’t find much in it that excites me in one way or the other.  Certainly nothing that makes me want to freak out and try to destroy it.

So what is here that I’m not seeing that might excite the obviously troubled mind of the woman who attacked it?  Is it that same thing in it that another mind might perceive as beautiful?

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