Anger marks the days of our lives, even in merry old England. The British daily, The Guardian, runs a news section titled "Protest." But public demonstrations are a long-time way of life in the U.S. - ever since 1776, you might say. And by all accounts, politics is the driving force. This includes acting out against art exhibits. Last week, Charging Bull, the lifesize bronze by Arturo Di Modica that's been standing on a street corner in the Financial District for the last 30 years, was gouged by Texan Tevon Varlack, who bashed the sculpture repeatedly with his banjo.

Di Modica told the New York Post he thinks Varlack did it for publicity. But it's clear that politics drove him to it. Bystanders heard him yelling Donald Trump's name.

The French connection

I rush to acknowledge that as angry as Americans get, our rap sheet for crimes against art isn't as long as Europe's, which dates back to 1911 when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. That was about politics, too, given that the rallying cry from the thief, Italian workman Vincenzo Perugia, was to "revenge Napoleon's looting of Italian art." French museums, in particular, seem to take a lot of hits from protestors.

Just this week, a painting at the Pompidou Centre by Conceptual artist Daniel Burin was knife-attacked and badly damaged, according to the BBC. And last week, a Banksy mural was swiped from the Pompidou. As I see it, politics, specifically that of Donald Trump. drove all these latter-day attacks. Consider the following:

What is it?

Protests against the Pompidou can easily be attributed to what this museum is about.

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Donald Trump

Launched in 1977, it holds the largest collection of contemporary art in Europe. Contemporary art. - often non-pictorial - is often a headscratcher. The Burin painting, for example, consists of red and white stripes. And while the Banksy mural is a pictorial describing a masked rat wielding an artist's utility knife, the story it tells also is a headscratcher. Unless Banksy is saying that artists are homicidal rodents.

Then there's Jeff Koons, another contemporary artist whose retro at the Whitney Museum in 2014 was smeared in the vandal's own blood. Koons' claim to fame is that he copies banal objects in popular culture. Did the vandal think Koons was mocking his culture? Hold that thought.

The past is not always prologue

Where does Trump come into all this? Think of his mantra "Make America great again." Doesn't that mean, bring back the good old days, you know, when people of color and women knew their place and gays knew to stay in the closet?

The good old days. when art meant Norman Rockwell's idealizations of American life and "Happy Days" was all the rage and Richie Cunningham's mother Marion devoted all her time to home and hearth who stayed in her lane without a swerve, always carefully coiffed and dressed. See? It all comes down to Trump.

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