Vandalism or art?

August 8 2014

Image of Vandalism or art?

Pictures: World of Interiors

Further to my posts on the Chapman brothers and their practice of painting over older works of art, a reader alerts me to a similar practice in Germany:

Speaking of defacement, there's an interesting feature in this month's edition of the venerable shelter magazine, World of Interiors, detailing the iconoclastic leanings of a Count Ferdinand Orsini-Rosenberg and his brainstorm to commission 35 artists to have a go at cheering up 90 ancestral portraits in his crumbling schloss. Some of the faces looked frightful to begin with. But from what I can see, the artists have done nothing to improve the situation.

I can only find these two images online. Happily, most of these 'improvements', even the Chapmans' ones, are easily removed. But I do get anxious when contemporary artists blithely assume they are working on inferior works by unknown artists. Because as regular readers will know, that's not always the case...

Update - a reader sends this link, which has more illustrations (three of which are below). It's definitely vandalism, he says, and I must agree. I can't understand how someone would want to do this to a collection of family portraits, even 'bad ones' (which, incidentally, have been made infinitely worse).

Update II - a reader writes:

For me it’s vandalism, coupled with a complete disregard for the past regardless of the quality of the work. Further the practice denies future generations of viewing the pictures, we’ve seen time and again what is passé today can return to vogue tomorrow. It’s a terrible practice but unhappily in this case an individual can do what they will with their own property ….and ancestors. If this was common practice we’d have very little to celebrate today.

Good points.

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