The only fury is my own

I was surprised to read in the Sunday Times today that “Fury has greeted Gottfried Helnwein’s art installation” in Waterford. Just to be completely clear about this Gerry McCarthy’s article stretches the truth til you hear it snap. The article alleges that a piece depicting a young girl has been vandalised. This is entirely correct and the installation has been badly damaged. However, this is where context is conveniently forgotten to portray the mindless vandalism as some act of artistic outrage or social commentary. Obviously, I don’t know what was going through the mind of the person(s) who damaged the painting but two points are salient. The piece was at ground level in a pedestrian area which is frequented by drunken revelers after a night on the sauce. More importantly, the only other piece in the installation at ground level is a canvas of the Nire valley. This clearly provocative piece of photorealistic landscapery has also been slashed, if not destroyed.
I’ve long been a fan of Gottfried Helnwein’s work but Waterford isn’t the hotbed of anarchism Gerry seems to want us to think it is. I suppose it’s a step up from the Lonely Planet’s “seedy port town” moniker. It’s a reimagining of an event with a Yeatsian pretence. …If only we had courage equal to desire… I suspect art was less important than impressing friends with a bit of vandalism.