On Tuesday a terrorist mob of hate-filled buffoons and strong men managed in a low brow, comical, yet utterly frightening way to break into the Capitol building of the United States. The seat of the U.S. Congress was knocked out of commission for hours on Tuesday. Amid the threats to members of Congress, their staff, security, press and others, the lawlessness was a scary opportunity for looters to make off with art and artifacts. So far it seems the major works of art in the building did not suffer any serious harm.
Sarah Bahr reported for the New York Times that the most serious damage appeared to be contained to:
A 19th-century marble bust of former President Zachary Taylor was flecked with what appeared to be blood. A picture frame was left lying on the floor, the image gone.
The photos and videos, some of them taken inside by the rioters themselves, were startling. One man crammed a framed photo of the Dalai Lama into his backpack, while another smoked marijuana in a room with maps of Oregon on the wall. A man in a leather jacket ripped up a scroll with Chinese characters.
Barbara A. Wolanin, a former curator for the Architect of the Capitol noted that while the major works of art appear to be mostly unharmed, the mob of terrorists “had no respect for any of these things . . . That’s what’s really scary.”
Offices were ransacked. Windows were smashed. And a small memorial to the late John Lewis was desecrated. Much of the loss and damage will now be up to the reported hundreds of Federal attorneys and investigators to determine in the coming weeks. For now American democracy remains the laughing stock of the world.
Sarah Bahr, Curators Scour Capitol for Damage to the Building or Its Art, The New York Times (Jan. 7, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/arts/design/us-capitol-art-damage.html.
Jack Brewster, John Lewis Tribute ‘Destroyed’ During Pro-Trump Mob Takeover Of Capitol, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2021/01/06/signs-podiums-tv-equipment-trump-supporters-loot-and-destroy-during-capitol-hill-takeover/?sh=1060bcea1d7c (last visited Jan. 8, 2021).
Gareth Harris & Anny Shaw, Storming of US Capitol: Art World Condemns Police Hypocrisy in pro-Trump Riot, http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/washington-capitol-trump-artists-react (last visited Jan. 8, 2021).