(Raf Casert’s article appeared in the Associated Press, 1/27.)
BRUSSELS (AP) — A struggling child with a blade to his neck awaiting slaughter. A gutted body hanging upside down as blood seeps out. In Brussels these days, it’s called street art — and names far less flattering.
“Hellish and awful,” Nicole Brisard grumbled as she walked her dog, Max, past the bleeding corpse rendered in paint on seven stories of a low-rent apartment building. “And all we wish for is to have something better, out of respect for the people.”
The two murals that appeared last weekend have made their anonymous artist the talk of the European capital, posing a familiar question about art expressly created to provoke: how far can it go before the outrage becomes unacceptable?
Both the wall painting eliciting Brisard’s ire and the companion mural across town of a child facing death are oversized adaptations of details from well-known 17th century art works, “The Corpses of the De Witt Brothers” by Dutch master Jan de Baen and Caravaggio’s “Sacrifice of Isaac.”