A pair of self-righteous assholes in matching tee-shirts, bearing the message “JUST STOP OIL,” strolled into London’s National Gallery today and tossed the condensed liquid contents of two cans of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup over the glass-covered painting of “Sunflowers;” a work of art by 19th century Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, thereby drawing more attention to the painting than it was given during the notoriously tortured artist’s lifetime.
Were they possessed by the spirit of pop art dandy Andy Warhol when they chose to use soup cans as weapons? Beats me.
Artistic suffering is what’s on the palette today and van Gogh was not only the epitome of a tortured artist, he’s the template for all tortured artists that post-date him.
Consider his iconic self-portrait showing the aftermath of his self-mutilation, painted after Vincent took a razor to his ear and presented it (or perhaps just the ear lobe) to a French prostitute. That is most certainly an act by a committed torturer (or the act of one that should be committed) and it’s a stunt I imagine may have inspired film director Quentin Tarantino in 1992 in a scene from Reservoir Dogs.
Some years ago, I read somewhere that it’s possible van Gogh didn’t cut off his ear and it was instead removed by fellow artist Paul Gauguin during a quarrel that led to a sword being drawn and used to do the deed. That story sparks my imagination and I want to believe it but, even it it was true, I still stand by my assertion that Vincent van Gogh is the original tortured artist.
But, I digress, and pull the focus away from the misguided and impotent act of vandalizism perpetrated by the smug and entitled assholes that also glued themselves to the gallery wall and excused their behavior by claiming to be climate change activists protesting fossil fuel extraction.
Both assholes were arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police “on suspicion of criminal damage and aggravated trespass.”