"Go Home Yankee Hipster!" Is Violence as a Form of Art Criticism Making a Comeback in the West?
Many of us remember being told by our graying ponytail art teachers about a bizarre time when people took art very seriously--seriously enough that an avant-garde piece could spark a riot, or at least invite impassioned physical attack.
I've heard, for instance, that Manet's first exhibition of Olympia in 1865 required police guard to protect it from the swats of passing walking canes and further mischief.
This week a Washington D.C. woman was charged again with assaulting a French "Masterpiece", her second such scathing review in four months. The first was Gauguin's Two Tahitian Women and the second was Matisse's The Plumed Hat, and I must say I share her sentiments. I don't know about you, but it really is a thin veneer of civility that restrains me from pulling half the works of 'art' I encounter off the wall and giving them a good shaking.
There's also this incident involving Obama "Hope" artist Shepard Fairey getting assaulted in Denmark after completing a mural there. His attackers took him for a propagandist and an "Obama Illuminati"--(not sure what an Obama Illuminati is, but I haven't been listening to much Glenn Beck lately)--and graffitied "Go home Yankee Hipster" over his mural. While hilarious and understandable, I'm truly terrified at the prospect of Europe expelling its populations of Yankee Hipsters and sending them back here.
Is violence as a form of art criticism making a comeback in the West? Is this another sign of civilizational collapse, or rather a sign that we're making the first crude steps back towards a seriousness about our culture?