After recently seeing an image of a young child laying on multimillion dollar sculpture by artist Donald Judd, it made my heart sink. I understand the abuse art endures when it leaves my protective sanctuary. Some actions can be prevented, while others are intentional. Unfortunately, the respect of environment, space, or objects seems to be a dying attitude.
For example, a visit to the Tate Modern in London shouldn’t become an Internet sensation. Not for parents who think museums are playgrounds for children! According to Amy Graff of the San Francisco Chronicle: “New York gallery owner Stephanie Theodore who was visiting the museum the same day snapped a photo of one of the girls sprawled across the bottom part of the sculpture and posted it on Twitter along with the message, ‘Holy crap. Horrible kids, horrible parents.’ The photo spread across social media sites like wildfire and art lovers and museum-goers across the world expressed ire.” When Ms. Theodore confronted the parents, they responded that she knew nothing about kids.
Here’s the image:
This incident brought to mind another outrageous act. The one where two scout leaders (David Hall and Glenn Taylor) pushed over an ancient boulder (only 170 million years old) in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park last October. The two “geniuses” posted the video on YouTube and it became viral. However, their tactics finally caught up with them. Dave Paresh of the Los Angeles Times: “Hall was charged with one count of felony aiding and assisting in criminal mischief and Taylor with one count of felony criminal mischief. They both face up to five years in prison, though the Emery County district attorney told reporters that he would seek a plea deal.” Hopefully, consequences will follow disrespectful actions.
Here’s the video:
Whether art is man-made or natural, it must be revered. This behavior needs to be taught by example and by setting boundaries. Ignoring only becomes an incubator for bad conduct. How we treat “things” reflects our compassion. From an expensive sculpture to a sacred rock formation, once destroyed- it can never be replaced. That loss of experience for future generations is the true tragedy.