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Why, when presented with a thing of beauty and significance, do some people feel the need to destroy it? The true tragedy seems to be that once the damage is done, there is no reversal. Even when the evidence of the crime is cleaned up, there is a stain that will never disappear. The work of art was changed, and it will never be the same.
This has happened all over the world and throughout time. Michelangelo’s “Pieta” was damaged by a vandal’s hammer in the 1970s. The sculpture was restored, but it is no longer completely accessible to the public; a wall of glass separates the masterpiece from people.
From a multitude of outdoor sculptures to monthly exhibits at the local art center, Los Alamos residents really seem to love their art, but even this community has seen its share of defaced masterpieces. Artist Kent Ullberg’s “Canyon Watch,” one of 20-limited edition bronze mountain lions, stands in the center of the roundabout on Diamond Drive.
The community celebrated the piece of art with a ribbon cutting in September, but unknown culprits abused it by splashing the sculpture with white paint.
The paint was scrubbed away, but as a result, a camera mounted to a light pole.
While the mountain lion watches the cars maneuver around its circle, the camera is watching, too, looking for signs of trouble.
Rather than functioning as a piece of art to be admired the sculpture seems to have transformed into a piece of bait to lure troublemakers.
Similar to other human creations that people are prone to disfigure, when art is ruined, its destruction impacts everyone.
We all lose something when a person’s creation is robbed of its beauty.