A Growing Number of People Are Attacking Art in Museums

Destroyed artifacts in Dallas are the latest example

Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art.
Andreas Praefcke, Public Domain

Let’s state this up front: it’s been a rough couple of years for virtually everyone. The pandemic, climate change, social injustice and countless other factors have disrupted huge swaths of everyday life — and it’s all had an effect on countless people’s everyday routines. That being said, there are a number of ways to deal with stress in a healthy, productive way. And then there’s what seems to be emerging as a growing trend — which is to say, people venting their frustrations in art museums.

Last month, a man walked into the Louvre and threw cake on the Mona Lisa. (Technically, he threw it on the plastic covering placed over the painting in case of events just like this.) And now, at the Dallas Museum of Art, another man decided that his frustrations would best be expressed by smashing several ancient artifacts.

The Dallas Morning News has more details on the incident, which involved a 21-year-old man breaking into the museum and shattering several ancient Greek artifacts, along with a bottle created by a Caddo artist. Brian Hernandez, the man who broke in, eventually called 911. It was at this point, ARTnews reports, that the museum’s security took him into custody.

As for why he did it, the Dallas Morning News quotes a security guard as having told a police officer that “[Hernandez] got mad at his girl so he broke in and started destroying property.”

According to the Dallas Morning News article, the museum had originally estimated that the destruction totaled $5 million, but later stated that the actual figure was likely significantly lower. Though in this case, the dollar amount is less important than the principle of someone treating a museum as their own personal rage room.

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