"Dad, is this art or is it vandalism?" -- Bart, 'The Simpsons'

Art Having invigilated in museums and art galleries I know that there is always a schism between an artist's imagination and what can be kept safe from the the public. Sometimes its nearly impossible to invigilate an exhibition successfully. I have the utmost sympathy for the staff who are looking after Doris Salcedo new crack at Tate Modern -- get too close to the visitor and you're impinging on the aesthetics of the piece but stay away and this potentially happens and you get the blame for not being there. It's a lose/lose situation. You can't erect barriers either.

I once worked at a gallery which housed an installation that included a giant golden sphere. The whole piece was covered in gold leaf of the most expensive quality. It was marvelous, massive and impressive. But you can't get enough staff to cover something like that from all angles, and as with the crack if you told every visitor not to touch as they walk in it spoils the moment. An object like that is very tactile and inevitably it was touched by a member of the public, and some of the leaf came away in their fingers leaving gaps in the surface begin. The artist then had to be called in -- flown in from Paris -- to touch up the work at great cost.

But there are certain some things you can't legislate for. I used to enjoy anything with pictures or painting or video art because people are less likely to to have physical contact with the work so you didn't need to be quite so authoritative. This is the last thing you would expect to happen:
"Around 3:30, half an hour before closing, four vandals wearing black masks stormed into a space known as the Kulturen Gallery while shouting in Swedish, “We don’t support this,” plus an expletive. They pushed visitors aside, entered a darkened room where some of the photographs were displayed and began smashing the glass protecting the photographs and then hacking away at the prints.

The bumpy video, evidently shot with a hand-held camera by someone who ran into the gallery with the attackers, intersperses images of the Serrano photographs with lettered commentary in Swedish like “This is art?” before showing the vandals at work.
You can detect the blame game going on in this article "No guards were on duty in the gallery" and “There was one woman who works at the gallery who tried to stop them until she saw the axes and crowbars [...] These men are dangerous.” Later it says that security has been bolster implying it had been lax earlier. The attendant did try to stop them and then did just the right thing for her personal safety by standing aside. It is a nightmare, but even considering the notoriety of the artist and the type of show it is, it was unimaginable that something like this would occur to why would you need to have a high level of security? Like the crack the last thing you want to be is a barrier to stopping the visitor experiencing what they've come to see [via].

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