Brett Murray “The Spear” 2010 / paint

On May 22, 2012, this controversial painting of South African president Jacob Zuma, depicting the politician, genitals exposed, in a dramatic pose reminiscent of Soviet-era poster work, was defaced while on view at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery.

The artwork was damaged by two men - one of whom painted a red X across Zuma’s face and genitals as the other threw black paint onto the canvas.

Both men were arrested on-site; asked of his motives, one of them said simply, “The painting was offensive.” The work was damaged beyond repair.

Christopher Schreck