Course overview

This course explores the destruction of art which has been going on for centuries whether through natural disasters, censorship, political ideology, war, and conflicts. Artists have been destroying their work out of jealousy or frustration to save their reputations or their legacies for generations. Contemporary artists even destroy art as part of their artistic practices, installations, or performances. Whilst activists are prepared to vandalise artworks to get their voices heard on issues they are passionate about. And governments waging wars deliberate target artworks to destroy the enemy’s culture. Are artworks destined to be destroyed whether through practice, protest, or conflict?

Course description

How does art get destroyed?, who destroys it and why? are questions this course attempts to answer whether they be by artists, institutions, or governments, wilfully, accidentally, or deliberately. There have been many cases down the centuries of works of art being deliberately destroyed by famous artists, such as Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, who have at different times destroyed their work. Whilst contemporary artists, such as Cornelia Parker, Yoko Ono, Bansky, Michael Landy, destroy artworks as part of their practice. By employing an array of techniques, they rip it, burn it, melt it, tear it, cut it, or shred it. Similar to the techniques that vandals, activists, and protesters have used to damage famous artworks in museums. The most famous of these being by, iconoclasts, suffragettes, Black Lives Matter protesters, and climate change activists. Sometimes it is simply a matter of the cleaners accidentally removing what they think is rubbish from the museum. But the greatest destruction of art is because of wars, conflicts, civil wars, and invasions - World War II, Afghan Civil War, Middle East conflicts, and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, when artworks are indiscriminately destroyed with no regard to their cultural value.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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