National Gallery Visitor Attacks Gauguin Painting [Updated]

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Photo: National Gallery

A distraught visitor to the National Gallery attempted to destroy a painting by Paul Gauguin on Friday. An unidentified woman screamed "this is evil" as she attempted to pull Gauguin's "Two Tahitian Women" off the wall. The 1899 painting was part of a 120-piece Gauguin exhibit at the gallery, and features two women with exposed breasts. Pamela Degotardi was visiting the museum and witnessed the attack. “She was really pounding it with her fists,” Degotardi said. “It was like this weird surreal scene that one doesn’t expect at the National Gallery.” The woman was tackled and subdued by another museum visitor, and museum officials said there was no permanent damage to the painting.

The woman has been identified as Susan Burns, and in a statement to the police she claimed to be a CIA agent (uhm hmm): "I feel that Gaugin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned. I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you."

National Gallery visitor attacks Gauguin painting, officials say [WP]