numerous Abstract Expressionist works / knife
(In 1985, a 24-year-old man named Eugene D. Burt attacked several works hanging in the main concourse area of a Washington DC government office complex. The damaged works were part of an exhibition that included artists Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, and Joan Mitchell.
Burt, owner of a nearby shoeshine stand, walked into the concourse, pulled out a kitchen knife and slashed 8 of the 75 paintings. Then, with a red crayon, he wrote various religious slogans onto the paintings, some of which read, “John Paul is Good” and “Antichrist Ronald Reagan 666.” Seven of the eight works in question were destroyed beyond repair.
When he was finished, he walked to a nearby police station, dropped his knife outside the door, and turned himself in. In his statement, he explained that he’d destroyed the works in order to “denounce the anti-Christ in Europe.” In a letter written to the Associated Press, Burt denounced President Reagan, writing, “Our President is the second least spoken of by Daniel the Prophet of the Old Testament.”
Only a few months earlier, six paintings from a different exhibition in the concourse were damaged when a man wrote on them with a ballpoint pen.)