The BBC’s Lawrence Pollard has a new show about art vandalism that airs on BBC 4 radio. Art Attack deals with the lunatic and political, as well as artists who found ways to create through destruction. Which sounds easy until he points out that Robert Rauschenberg’s famous erased de Kooning drawing took Rauschenberg three weeks to erase and left a deformed piece of paper as the work.
Here Pollard explains something interesting. The famous case of the Taliban’s destruction of the buddhas of Bimyam in 2001 was not an example of religious zealotry but an act of petulant self-mutilation in protest over the lack of foreign aid:
“That winter there was a famine, the second year of drought, there wasn’t enough aid, the gaps between the Taliban and the west just grew and grew,” says the BBC correspondent David Loyn.
“International aid agencies said they would pay to look after the buddhas, put money into the area and it had the opposite effect. The Taliban said ‘you care more about this history than about the Afghan people so we’ll destroy them’.”
The dynamiting in Bamiyan was meant to be heard round the world.
Destroying Art for Art’s Sake (BBC News)