When Paul and I were in the Louvre this summer, we walked around and looked at literally 45 million paintings. At one point we stopped in front of a particularly arresting Van Gogh self portrait. The daubs and strokes of color were so vivid that they seemed almost alive. I remember standing in front of it, and thinking "I could punch this painting right in the face."
Everyone has this inappropriate museum thought, right? I mean, the guards are there and stuff, but they could never reach you in time. There is nothing but three feet of air between you and an irreplaceable masterpiece. If I punched Van Gogh in the face, I would be, in some sense, destroying history. I mean, I know they have restorers and stuff, but if I put my fist through the canvass, could it really be repaired to any satisfaction? Could I put my fist through the canvass?
I ruminated on this philosophical conundrum as we wandered the museum. In fact, here is a picture of me in front of some Vermeers.
Can you tell that I am thinking about punching the Vermeers? Because I am. It's not that I wish the paintings any harm - I like the paintings. I'm just obsessed with imagining what would go down in the aftermath. At one point, Paul and I had this conversation:
Me: What would happen if I punched a painting?
Paul: You would go to jail.
Me: No I wouldn't! They can't put you in jail for hurting art, can they? Wouldn't they just sue me for like, a trillion dollars? Also, how could they prove that I did it on purpose?
Paul: You. Would. Go. To. Jail.
Me: Also, what would happen immediately after? Would a guard tackle me? Would the police come? Would people point at me and yell? Would the American Embassy get involved?
Paul: You would go to French jail, and I would not bail you out.
Suffice it to say, we got out of there without major incident. However, this was not the case on Friday when a woman at the Met tripped and FELL INTO A PICASSO!
Let's go to the paper of record for the gory details, shall we:
"On Friday afternoon a woman taking an adult education class at the Metropolitan Museum of Art accidentally lost her balance and fell into “The Actor,” a rare Rose Period Picasso, tearing the canvas about six inches along its lower right-hand corner."
Here is the painting, pre-impact:
As Tracy Jordan would say, "This is happening, people!" Granted, it seems that this was a legitimate accident, but OMG SHE RIPPED A PICASSO! However, the aftermath was somewhat anticlimactic:
"Immediately after the accident the painting was taken to the Met’s conservation studio so experts could assess the damage, museum officials said. A statement released by the Met on Sunday afternoon said, “The damage did not occur in the focal point of the composition and the curatorial and conservation staffs fully expect that the repair —which will take place in the coming weeks — will be unobtrusive.”
They can fix it? BORING! Apprently no one went to Art Jail (see, Paul!), and this story will fade from the headlines (unless this lady goes on the news, or Oprah, or gets a hidden-camera type reality show where she goes to museums and pretends to trip in front of famous works of art). But for one brief, shining moment, what had only been a morbid obsession became a reality, and I needed to blog about it, because that is why I have a blog.
Also, the comments on the NYT story are AWESOME, and include the following:
"It's natural to fall occasionally... didn't this happen also to Eve?
Perhaps she's a symbol for what is now happening to Western Civilization...."
"She really fell for that Picasso."
'"The Actor" will be in my thoughts as I pray for its speedy recovery."
"It's about time a woman got the better of Picasso."
Via Gawker and NYT