Gary Simmons is a renowned artist with an interesting style. Instead of using paint, he smudges chalk, but boy does he know how to use chalk.
So What Happened?
While we admit that applying chalk to a chalkboard isn't the best idea if you're planning on preserving the piece, surely you know, just by looking at it, that all those smudges didn't just happen accidentally. You know that the owner of one of these pieces, Russell Simmons (no relation), wasn't using the chalkboards for work. He's rich, so he probably has a pen and paper for that kind of stuff. Too bad one of his friends, a Victoria's Secret model, happened across it.
Bite us, rich people.
Usually when there's a Victoria's Secret girl hanging out at your party, you know there's going to be fun times, or at least a lot of vomiting going on. On the other hand, you usually wouldn't have $100,000 chalk drawings just lying around. Figuring the smudges were accidental, she decided to go right ahead and fix it with a damp cloth the same way a child may try to fix his dad's car by painting racing stripes on it. Which is as sweet as it is stupid.
Again, this is what a Simmons piece looks like:
And, here's what it presumably looks like now:
Regardless of whether you like it or not, it's hard to see how anyone can see the original drawing as anything but art. It's any wonder Russell's other paintings, including a Warhol piece, survived the onslaught of "fixing."
Built around 550 BC after taking approximately 120 years to complete, and recognized as one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis was an archeological and artistic achievement of the ages. But then, the temple succumbed to the traits of mankind; passion, desire and fame burned stronger than any fire and brought the temple to the ground. Also, a real fire happened.
Uh, does anyone else smell smoke? Guys?
So What Happened?
A young man named Herostratus just decided to burn the whole thing down. Realizing one day that fame was totally for him, and without reality TV there to dash his dreams on a national scale, he decided to do the next best thing: He burned down one of the greatest temples of the era in an effort to gain everlasting notoriety.
True purists burn things for the sheer joy of setting shit on fire.
The people of Ephesus, being the kind of people who knew what it was like to be young and reckless, did the logical thing and let him off on a minor misdemeanor. No wait, they did that other thing: They killed him and forbade anyone from ever mentioning his name again.
Of course, an ancient historian eventually did mention his name and that's how we know it today. So, he got his fame. It was totally worth it, right? All that art lost so Herostratus could have his two paragraphs and a couple of dot points worth of Wikipedia fame. Seriously, the youths of the ancient world were in some serious need of YouTube.
If only they'd had the Internet to pacify them.
The older a piece of art is, the more valuable it becomes. That's why ancient figurines of people boning each other are worth a fortune today and why our own pictures of people boning each other today will be invaluable in the future.
One day depictions of cow tipping will be priceless.
The ancient Pech-Merle cave drawings in Montauban, France go back further than any historic civilization, and they provide a wealth of information about the lives of prehistoric humans across Europe. The drawings were old, valuable, and probably even pretty. But that's hard to tell now considering...
So What Happened?
...Some damned teenagers got to them. Some damn, well-meaning teenagers and their youth group supervisors! Wait... what?
Yet another reason to hate kids.
It all started with a graffiti clean-up assignment, and to a degree, they were doing a good job of it. So good, they managed to remove graffiti that was thousands of years old. Presumably on their way to clean up that nasty mess inside the Louvre, they decided to hit the local caves to clean up graffiti put there by local teens. They were only halfway through until they noticed their mistakes. 15,000 years of art removed because they couldn't tell the difference between ancient pictures of bison and crudely drawn dicks.
Is that a condom?
The official government response sums up the whole incident perfectly: "Absolutely stupid!" If there's one thing to learn from all this, it is that kids are bound to be trouble no matter what their intentions are.
Get off our goddamn Saint Augustine!
Robin O'Lachlan can also be found at Gunaxin.
For more insight into the arts, check out 6 Best Shenanigans Passed Off As "Art" and 7 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden in Famous Works of Art.
And stop by Linkstorm to see finger paintings from David Wong's formative years that predict the end of the world.
Cracked.com is looking for a lead PHP engineer to join our team of award-winning badasses. For more info, click on this now working hyperlink!
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Know way too much about a random topic? Create a topic page and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!