work:
Myra
artist:
Marcus Harvey
location:
Royal Academy of Arts; London, UK
date:
September 18, 1997

On the exact same day, and within hours of each other, two protesters in separate and unorchestrated incidents attacked Marcus Harvey's controversial portrait of Myra Hindley, one of the notorious British Moors child killers, imprisoned for life in l966 for murder and torture of 5 children.

Artist, Peter Fisher was the first to attack the 11ft by 9ft painting, throwing red and blue indian Ink over the work. Jacques Role, also an artist threw eggs at the work (which was still apparently on display after the first attack) until he was stopped by an off duty police officer.

Role, who managed to throw "three or four" of the six eggs brought to the show said of the attack "There are moments when you must do something about it. Otherwise next time we will have even worse, we will have a picture of the actual torture."[1]

The painting was put back on display approximately two weeks later and exhibited behind a glass case and flanked by two guards.

Interestingly, two years later when the same exhibition opened in New York, this image did little to rile the public. Rather Chris Ofili's painting The Holy Virgin Mary was on the receiving end of an attack by an outraged christian and a jar of white paint.

[1] Child murder's portrait defaced
National and World Briefs, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Compiled from wire reports

CONTROVERSIAL PAINTING VANDALIZED
Dalya Alberge, The London Times, September 19, 1997

Child killer painting back on display in Britain
Story about the vandalism.

ROYAL ACADEMY EXHIBITION UNDER FIRE
THE ART BRIEF Number 52, September 17, 1997
A prescient title for a preview article dealing with the first waves of controversy over the Sensation show which would become one of the most contested and talked about shows of recent times.

Shock for shock's sake?
Steven Henry Madoff, October 4, 1999
An overview of the exhibition in New York.

Young artists making a 'Sensation' in London
CNN.com, October 26, 1997

S E N S A T I O N Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection
Art/Not Art July 20th, 2000