Art Attack

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
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012009102720100503
20150812 (BBC7)
20150813 (BBC7)

Tim Marlow looks at attacks on art carried out in the name of politics and religion.

An assault on the Mona Lisa with a teacup raises the question, why do people attack art? In two programmes the art historian and broadcasters Tim Marlow (programme one) and Lawrence Pollard (programme two) investigate centuries of attacks on art works from the earliest times to the present day. Charting the reasons why and telling the stories of some of the most sensational and provocative attacks, they explore how the wilful destruction of art is as old as art itself and how it shows no signs of stopping. Statues are demolished in the name of religion, photographs doctored for political reasons, paintings are slashed and protestors even urinate on art works. Art is attacked so that the power of a particular work is nullified, in order to eradicate the art's subject from the face of the earth, as a publicity seeking stunt and even - and increasingly - to make an artistic comment on the existing artwork. Do these attacks have anything in common? Can art be made by breaking existing art? Why are art attacks continuing?

Programme 1

Tim Marlow looks at some of the most renowned attacks on art carried out in the name of politics and religion. He speaks to Professor Eamon Duffy in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral, which was desecrated in the sixteenth century during the Reformation. A place which is beautiful in its brokenness, with the damage (defaced figures and empty pedestals) clearly visible.

On 10th March 1914, suffragette Mary Richardson attacked Velazquez's Rokeby Venus with an axe at the National Gallery in London. Her motive for the attack was to bring to public attention the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Government's treatment of Emily Pankhurst. Professor Lynn Nead discusses the wider political issues of this act and the public outrage that followed.

For the past three decades, author and photo-historian David King has assembled the world's largest archive of photographs, posters and paintings from the Soviet era. Tim takes a look at his collection and discusses the doctoring of photographs by the Communists for propaganda purposes.

The Bamiyan Buddhas, which were arguably Afghanistan's most important historical monument, were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 causing an international outcry. What does it mean to destroy art for your beliefs?

Series investigating the history of attacks on art works, from the earliest times to the present day.

Art historian and broadcaster Tim Marlow looks at some of the most renowned attacks on art carried out in the name of politics and religion.

What leads someone to blow up a statue, destroy photos with ink and scalpel, take the heads off angels or slash a painting of a naked woman? Tim looks at the impact on the work itself and the wider cultural and social implications of such attacks.

02 LAST2009110320100504
20150813 (BBC7)
20150814 (BBC7)

Series investigating the history of attacks on art works, from the earliest times to the present day.

When does destruction become an act of creation? Lawrence Pollard explores what lies behind some of the more bizarre assaults on contemporary art, including an exploding shed, an artist who destroyed every one of his possessions and art that has been both urinated on and whacked with a hammer.

Lawrence Pollard explores some of the more bizarre assaults on contemporary art.

Lawrence Pollard explores attacks on contemporary art.

An assault on the Mona Lisa with a teacup raises the question, why do people attack art? In two programmes the art historians and broadcasters Tim Marlow (programme one) and Lawrence Pollard (programme two) investigate centuries of attacks on art works from the earliest times to the present day. Charting the reasons why and telling the stories of some of the most sensational and provocative attacks, they explore how the wilful destruction of art is as old as art itself and how it shows no signs of stopping. Statues are demolished in the name of religion, photographs doctored for political reasons, paintings are slashed and protestors even urinate on art works. Art is attacked so that the power of a particular work is nullified, in order to eradicate the art's subject from the face of the earth, as a publicity seeking stunt and even - and increasingly - to make an artistic comment on the existing artwork. Do these attacks have anything in common? Can art be made by breaking existing art? Why are art attacks continuing?

Programme 2 -

Lawrence Pollard investigates some of the more bizarre assaults on contemporary art including attacks on Marcel Duchamp's 'Fountain' which has been both urinated on and whacked with a hammer. In this age of anti-art, it is increasingly common for vandals to claim their actions as 'art'.

Lawrence also visits the Tate Liverpool for their 'Joyous Machines' exhibition which features the work of Jean Tinguely - one of the most radical, inventive and subversive sculptors of the mid twentieth-century. Discussing his work with Lawrence is Michael Landy, artist and co-curator of the exhibition whose own work has been influenced by the artist and his constructive and destructive tendencies. In 'Break Down' (2001) Landy catalogued and destroyed every single one of his possessions from his birth certificate to his car.