Being a budding, and starving (OK, not starving) artist I sometimes find myself lacking inspiration. I Google images from artists such as Monet and Rodin in hopes of seeing something I once had missed while studying their work. I open magazines to stare at advertisements day dreaming of getting something deeper than a blank canvas. And when all else fails I travel to whatever local (and sometimes regional) art museums that I can find. Indianapolis has quite a few as do it’s surrounding areas such as Carmel and Greenwood, the main one being the IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art) and they are always changing exhibits. One month might be articles from the Ming Dynasty and the next might be modern European furniture. You just never know what you are going to get. Plus, most exhibits at the IMA are free of charge. The gardens outside are also a great place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
One summer I went a little bit further than the IMA and found myself in Paris, France, standing in front of the Louvre with no idea what lie inside it’s four (well, there are way more than four) walls. The Louvre is the true mecca of all art museums and it holds art from some of the oldest, and greatest names in the business. Leonardo, Monet, and Veronese all have pieces on display that you can basically just walk up and touch. But try not to touch the art work as you might find yourself behind bars. That is where an undisclosed Russian woman found herself today.
Being denied her over due welcome in the land of wine and cheese, the woman was up for her papers to keep her French nationality. When she was denied, she went to the Louvre for some last minute French motivation. She, while touring the museum, had managed to smuggle an empty coffee mug in her over sized purse. She walked into the room that holds the Mona Lisa (and this room is huge by the way) and walked straight up to the piece and threw her coffee cup at Mona’s face. (If you did not know any better you might miss the painting when walking through the “what took me three days to get to appreciate” exhibits. The painting is so small that I was shocked when I first saw it. Of course there are hundreds of people starring at the painting and taking pictures, video, etc. as they stare in awe of one of the most famous paintings on the planet. I am not even sure if that is the original and there are skeptics that claim it is not. And you all know how I like to believe conspiracy theories.)
So as this woman throws her coffee cup at this insanely protected masterpiece (she even has seven inches of bullet proof glass in front of her), she was immediately apprehended and taken to the nearest French holding cell. Based on witnesses that had seen the woman prior to her act of total immaturity, she seemed visually upset. I mean, I guess I would be too if I was being deported from where I had once called home. But I want to know what she thought she was going to accomplish by throwing a coffee cup at the Mona Lisa. Was she trying to get attention or did she really think she would change the mind of the French parliament and convince them to let her stay for another European sunset?
Other museums in France have made mention to problems in the recent past as well stating that upset locals tend to destroy whatever they can get his or her hands on. This list of damaged items includes art. Most of the museums, and there are tons of them in the city of Paris alone, are free and have little to no security. It does not surprise me in the least that people would turn to vandalism when upset. n Even at the IMA if you lean in too close alarms sound and guards come running to analyze the situation.
So the next time you are in a bad mood head down to the IMA, walk right up to the first piece of art that you can find, and toss some dinnerware in it’s direction. I am sure it is liberating. Of course, a night in jail and almost guaranteed legal action from the museum might not be. After all, maybe Mona Lisa was just thirsty. She has been hanging on that wall for more than 100 years.