Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Appropriate Museum Behavior

I am the daughter of an artist/elementary teacher. Consequently, as a child, I was introduced to all manner of art media --- painting, textiles, sculpture; you name it, I saw it. Whenever time, money, and opportunity permitted, I was subjected to art museum field trips in Minneapolis, fully a two-hour drive from my hometown (by the way, I enjoyed those excursions a lot and found them incredibly interesting). Still, as part of all my museum outings, I was taught one very important rule of behavior: KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE ARTWORK.

Or, in the case of a 22-year old Pewaukee, Wisconsin, man: KEEP YOUR FEET OFF THE ARTWORK. Read for yourself the unfortunate result of his complete lack of self-control, as recounted in an article from Fox News:
A man who claimed he found the subject disturbing put his foot through a 17th-century painting valued at $300,000 at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

David Gordon, museum CEO and director, said the 1640 work, “The Triumph of David” by Ottavio Vannini, was hanging in the museum’s Early European Gallery when the incident happened Wednesday.

The oil painting depicts the end of the biblical tale of David and Goliath, with David carrying the severed head of the giant Goliath, Gordon said.

“[The man] was kicking it, aiming his blows at the head of Goliath, and then he pulled it off the wall and started kicking it,” Gordon said.

A museum employee and security guard tried to restrain the man, and eventually he stopped, took off his shirt and lay on the gallery's floor, Gordon said.
So, what are the consequences to an individual who destroys a 376-year-old painting? The penalty for this Pewaukee man has yet to be determined. However, my sixteen-year-old daughter has an idea for justice and restitution: force Mr. Disturbed Vandal to pay all costs associated with the full and complete restoration of the painting. If restoration of the painting is impossible, then Mr. Vandal should pay the commission fee for a gifted artist to paint a replica of “The Triumph of David.” In both cases, my daughter believes the perpetrator of this crime against an historical artifact should also repay the original value of the painting, $300,000, in addition to the aforementioned expenses. I think I would have to agree with her; however, I would require Mr. Vandal to receive extensive psychological counseling as well.

To quote my very frank and opinionated child: “Get over yourself. It’s art.” To which I would have to add, “If you don’t like the painting, just walk away.”

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