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Opening on October 2, 2013 at Tate Britain in London, Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm will be the first exhibition to explore the history of physical attacks on art in Britain from the 16th century to the present day. The show will present famously marred works while exploring the religious, political and aesthetic motives that have provoked these violent acts.

The exhibition will include Statue of the Dead Christ (1500-20), which is being loaned to the Tate by London’s Worship Company of Mercers where the work was discovered beneath the chapel floor in 1954. The work was attacked by Protestants during the Reformation and is missing a crown of thorns, arms and lower legs. It is the first time that the Mercer has loaned the work since it was discovered nearly 60 years ago. John Singer Sargent’s (1856-1925) portrait of Henry James, which was attacked by a suffragette at the Royal Academy in 1914 with a knife, will also be on view. A less violently disgraced work is a portrait of Oliver Cromwell that was hung upside down by a devote monarchist. The work is on loan from the Inverness Museum in Scotland.

Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm will be on view at Tate Britain through January 5, 2014.

Published in News
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:10

Israel Protects Artworks While Rockets Fly

While rocket fire is a normal occurrence in southern Israel, the recent attacks on Tel Aviv, the country’s northern capital city, has art museums in the area taking extra precautions. The walls of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art have been stripped and nearly 200 works, including approximately 100 works by relatives of the Renaissance master Pieter Brueghel the Elder, were moved to a rocket-proof safe late last week.

While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued to escalate, other museums are following suit. The curator of the Ashdod Art Museum in southern Israel has taken down 15 works by the leading Contemporary Israeli artist, Tsibi Geva, and placed them in a vault deep underground. The structure is designed to withstand both rocket fire and biological weapons. It was the first time the Ashdod Museum has taken down any art amid attacks since opening in 2003.

While air strikes are creeping up from the southern Israel’s traditional rocket range to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, some institutions are holding out on stashing their works. The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, which specializes in Near Eastern antiquities and other art, has left its treasures in place. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which houses some of the country’s most prized antiquities and cultural artifacts has also continued to operate as usual.

The last time the Tel Aviv Museum of Art took down works during a conflict was in 1991 when Iraqi scud missiles pounded the city during the Gulf War.

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