Meet Susan Burns, Serial Art Attacker


Do you think that it’s possible to be addicted to attacking famous works of art? It might seem like an odd question, but given the fact that Susan Burns was arrested last week for “attempting to rip” The Plumed Hat, a $2.5 million Henri Matisse oil painting, off the wall of the National Gallery of Art just four months after trying the same thing with an $80 million work by Paul Gauguin in the same museum, we think that it’s one worth asking..

You might remember Burns’ interesting explanation for the April attack; she considered Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women to be evil. “He has nudity and is bad for the children,” she said at the time. “He has two women in the painting 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.” As part of her release agreement with authorities, Burns signed a document at the time promising that she would “stay away from all ­museums and art galleries in Washington DC including the National Gallery of Art.” So much for that.

While the logic behind this more recent incident has yet to be revealed, we enjoy this take by a police officer on the scene: “What she did was strange, but when you think about all the homicides in this city, it’s really not so bad. Maybe she just really hates art.” Or maybe she just really hates French artists? [via Washington Post]