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Monday, June 17 2024

Paris Museum Vandalized: ‘MeToo’ Graffiti on Nude Artwork, Case Filed

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A renowned Gustave Courbet painting from the 19th century that the museum had loaned to another gallery was spray-painted by two women, prompting the top French museum to file a police complaint, an official said on Friday.
The French artist Courbet painted “The Origin of the World” in nude, along with four other pieces, and the women are accused of spray-painting the words “MeToo” over them.

The 1866 painting was lent to the Pompidou-Metz in the northeastern city of Metz by the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The words were inscribed on a glass pane that shielded it.

“Stained with red paint, the work was taken down for examination by a qualified restorer. The frame has received numerous splashes of paint that could have lasting marks even after restoration,” the Musee d’Orsay said in a statement, adding that it had “filed a complaint”.

The museum said the painting would not return to the Metz exhibition that closes in May.

Metz prosecutor Yves Badorc said five works had been sprayed with the words “MeToo” and one was stolen.

French-Luxembourg performance artist Deborah de Robertis told AFP she organised the operation carried out by two other people, as part of a performance titled: “You Don’t Separate the Woman from the Artist”.

In a video sent to AFP by de Robertis, one woman tagged Courbet’s work with red paint and then a second sprays another. They then chant “MeToo” before being dragged away by security guards.

In an open letter, de Robertis denounced the behaviour of six men in the art world, describing them as “predators” and “censors”.

De Robertis said they had also seized an embroidery work by French artist Annette Messager as “reappropriation”.

The prosecutor said a third person — who was not arrested — could have been behind the disappearance of the 1991 Messager work titled “I Think Therefore I Suck”.

At the Metz location, De Robertis is showcasing a piece of art that is a photo of her nude performance from 2014 at the Musee d’Orsay, where she was positioned beneath a painting by Courbet.

In 2020, a French court fined de Robertis 2,000 euros ($2,150) for his nude appearance in 2018 at Lourdes, a Catholic pilgrimage site in southwest France, where some believe the Virgin Mary made her appearance.

She has also posted a nude photo of herself in front of the Louvre in Paris’ “Mona Lisa” painting.

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