Perish Vandals

March 11, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Ulalume | 3 Comments |

Lazlo Toth (He's not Jesus)

The antique theatre (photo by Jerzy Strzelecki)

The antique theatre at Palmyra (photo by Jerzy Strzelecki)

Art vandals can expect no clemency

TVC charges the following with crimes against art, and adopting the jurisprudence of Ignatius J Reilly (aka Zorro) from A Confederacy of Dunces, sentences them to be hanged by their undeveloped testicles till dead (or if dead, to plough their graves and build thereon a new Bedlam).

In no particular order:

1. Lazlo Toth (who in 1972, aged 33, took a geological hammer to Michelangelo‘s Pietá, shouting “I am Jesus Christ – risen from the dead.”) Lou Reed sang in his song I Believe – “being sick is no excuse…”.


2. Islamic State (for the wilful destruction in 2015, by bulldozers, explosives, inter alia, of historical iconography and  artefacts in the antique towns of Hatra in Mesopotamia, Nimrud in Assyria (50 complete relief panels, c. 640BC) and Palmyra in Syria). Being fundamentalist; idolatry-hating idolaters; holding extreme views, or feeling threatened and offended by the views and beliefs of others, is no excuse.


There is a hell of a lot of looting going on as well, and lots of people want to “dip their bread in that gravy while it is still warm” but we can forgive a thief ahead of a vandal.

Image may contain: 4 people, tree and outdoor

2 a.  Reportedly (25 Sept. 2015) President al-Assad‘s barrel bombs are now finishing what IS started in Palmyra.

3. William de Rijk, who slashed Rembrandt’s The Night Watch numerous times with a knife in 1975.  Being mad, suicidal, unemployed or a school teacher is no excuse.


4. Suffragette Mary Richardson carved up Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus in 1914. The arrest of Ms Pankhurst is no excuse. Vandalized_Rokeby_Venus_1914

5. Tony Shafrazi spray painted Picasso’s Guernica in 1974 as a political protest.  Suffering from passion and calling oneself ‘an artist’ is no excuse.

6. William Lloyd smashed the Portland Vase in 1845.  Being drunk is no excuse.

7. ‘Daubist’ Driller Jet Armstrong painted images over a landscape by Charles Bannon in 1991.  TVC excuses the act as one of art, not vandalism, but condemns it nevertheless, on aesthetic grounds.

8. The National Socialists 1933-1945 (of course) for their campaign to destroy what they called ‘degenerate art.’  Being a Nazi is no excuse.

9. A photographic series by Andres Serrano, “A History of Sex” was attacked by fascists in Sweden in 2010.

There are, regretfully, countless other goolies to suspend and graves to raze…

We note that Salvador Dali mounted a Freudian argument, in mitigation, on behalf of attackers of the Mona Lisa.  Confronting their own idealised mother amid all the erotica, sitting in amused rectitude!  “Aggression is the only possible response to a smile like that.”

No butter melting

No butter melting





The great functions of Art include the derangement of received standards, morals, and tastes.  The only boundaries are subjective.  We freely accept that all our judgments on this site are subjective, but within that sphere there have to be boundaries – without which there is no meaning.

UPDATE: July 2022: ‘Climasterics’ glue themselves to Botticelli’s “Primavera” in the Uffizi at Florence. Fortunately, they only made contact with the protective glass covering, not the painting itself. If only one had the scimitar of the painted figure at far left with which to remove their upper arms…

Two activists of Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) glued themselves to the glass protecting Botticelli's Primavera (Spring) in the Uffizi Gallery . Photo / Ultima Generation via AP

And on it goes…..



  1. Reply

    driller jet armstrong

    April 12, 2015

    "condemns it nonetheless on aesthetic grounds"
    thankfully aesthetics are a matter of personal taste which seem to be lacking on your part.

    • Reply

      Lesley Jakobsen

      June 21, 2015

      Thank you Sir. You must be right, and we can therefore respectfully agree to disagree. At least your work had thematic resonance, unlike the egregious Banksy!

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