Related Links

New exhibition at Tate Britain examines attacks on art

Date Posted: 23/07/2013

A new exhibition opening at Tate Britain will reportedly be the first of its kind to explore the history of physical attacks on art in Britain from the 16th century to the present day.

Running from 2nd October to 5th January, Art under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm will examine how and why icons, symbols and monuments have been attacked for religious, political or aesthetic motives.

What is Iconoclasm?

Iconoclasm describes the deliberate breaking of images. Displaying paintings, sculpture and archival material, the exhibition will explore 500 years of assaults on art.

Highlights of Art under Attack

The exhibition will include an example of pre-Reformation sculpture, the Statue of the Dead Christ, discovered in 1954 at Mercers’ Hall beneath the chapel floor.

Additional highlights include fragments of monuments destroyed in Ireland during the 20th century; paintings attacked by suffragettes in 1913/14; defaced illuminated devotional books from the British Library; plus medieval stained glass panels removed from the windows of Canterbury Cathedral.

As well as attacks on art, the show will reveal how artists’ destruction can be utilised as a creative force.

A piano destroyed by Ralph Montanez Ortiz during the 1966 Destruction in Art Symposium will be on display for the first time alongside an audio recording of the event.

School trip information

Discounted admission rates are available for school groups.

School trip organisers can also take advantage of a programme of talks and events running alongside the exhibition.

For more school trip information contact:

020-7887 8888

Photo credit: Statue of the Dead Christ c.1500-1520, Stone on limestone plinth, The Mercers’ Company.

School Travel Organiser's Guide