5 Mind-Blowing Works of Art That You Aren't Allowed to See
Isn't art wonderful? It is an amalgam of both creativity and charity, as artists toil away for years just so their works can be seen and appreciated by any with the will to do so. Truly, art is made to enrich and be enjoyed by all. Well, except for this stuff. You can't see this stuff. Not even if you ask nicely. Does that make you want to see it more? Too bad, jerkwads, you ain't gettin' in.
The Moon Museum
In 1969, NASA had just gotten back from the moon and was already greenlighting a big-budget sequel, Apollo 12: Apollo Harder. Instead of just blasting a bunch of boring dudes up into the void, NASA scientists collaborated with local Earth artists and sent up a whole friggin' museum the second time around.
Hey, to eyelash mites, it's enormous.
Famous stamp maker Claes Oldenburg drew what looks like a low-budget Czech ripoff of Mickey Mouse. Sculptor John Chamberlain doodled a weird little right-angled pattern. And wig enthusiast Andy Warhol drew a "rocket ship" with quote marks so big, you could fit a whole dick through them.
Oh no, we're sorry. That's clearly a Saturn V.
But with the launch date approaching, NASA was dragging its feet: Did they really, really want to put dongs on the moon? Sure, it sounds like vital and necessary work, but would it stand firm to the test of time? And how could we guarantee the survival of this newly erected monument to mankind out there in the cold absence of space? And speaking of cold absences, wouldn't shrinkage be an issue? This museum was already more of a "grower" than a "show-er" to start with ...
Well, a NASA engineer known only as John F. wasn't going to have any of this wishy-washy willy-winking -- he snagged the wafer museum and secretly placed it aboard Apollo 12. John even told the astronauts about his mission, and they agreed with and approved the concept -- because hey, who's history going to remember more: the guy who just walked on the moon, or the guy who scrawled the first dick joke on the metaphorical bathroom wall of the moon?
Ew, dude, you know for a fact that Andy Warhol has had that thing in his ass.
The Mickey Mouse, Square, and Dick Museum is still up there today, sitting on the landing leg of Apollo 12, waggling proudly in the faces of all the naysayers.
Ladies and gentlemen, we'll reiterate one more time for history: There is a dong on the moon.
Chauvet Cave and Cosquer Cave
The famous Lascaux Cave in France is home to some of the oldest cave paintings ever discovered, and they are all being destroyed. By stupid humans, of course, with our arrogant need to breathe dumb ol' air. Curators discovered an odd mold growing on the priceless artifacts and figured that it was mostly due to the exhalations from tourists, whose breath helped feed nature's art critic. Drastic measures were taken, and visits were severely restricted to preserve the sanctity of the relics. So, when a new cave was discovered in Chauvet, France, in 1994, French authorities decided to take pre-emptive action.
They painted enormous penises onto the animals to ward off trespassers.
They simply banned people from going right from the start. Only a handful of people have ever visited, which brings to mind that old Buddhist koan: If a priceless work of art is preserved away from human eyes forever, is there any goddamn point to it?
If not for the paintings, how would we ever know about the four-headed horse-osaurus?
However, not all historic caves are art-blocked just by governments. Some are actually physically impossible to get to (plus, yes, also off-limits to the public): Cosquer Cave contains artwork so old that the coastline has dramatically changed since its painting. Since man first smeared colored feces on the walls to impress the she-beasts of Cosquer, the sea has come in and completely blocked off the entrance.
If you want to appreciate the subtle beauty of a bunch of finger-painted bears for yourself, you'll first have to endure a dive to 100 feet below sea level, then swim through a cramped and darkened 574-foot-long tunnel, at which point you'll have to back flip up a system of ledges while shooting the T. rex in the glowi- oh, sorry, we got that last part confused with a Tomb Raider walkthrough.
Which makes you wonder what sort of deranged freak found it in the first place.
The Stephen A. Cohen Collection
Wall Street hedge fund manager Stephen Cohen has two passions: buying every piece of famous art he can find, and keeping your stupid face away from it. He bought a Jackson Pollock piece for $52 million. He bought British artist Damien Hirst's controversial Pickled Shark for $12 million (shockingly, no, "pickled shark" is not a euphemism for anything -- it's an actual pickled shark). Cohen's even bought several Picassos, and if you're curious which ones, you can go screw yourself, nosy.
"Though I do invite you to all bend right over and lick my asshole."
Unlike other private collectors, who often let museums exhibit their pieces or even open facilities of their own to display them, Cohen isn't buying priceless works of art to show the likes of you. He's doing it because he thinks they look pretty in his house.
To be fair, it's his stuff to do with as he pleases, and there actually is one easy way to get a glimpse of his collection: have a billion dollars. Cohen displayed part of his collection once at Sotheby's auction house back in 2006, but to even get in that place, you have to show you've got the money to potentially buy. Or you can peruse part of his collection down at Cohen's office -- that is, if you've got business with a billionaire hedge fund manager. Oh, you don't? Well, just go stare at a pile of crap, then, and try not to get your gross poverty all over the floor on the way out.
That's actually a live exhibit he keeps in his family room.
The Second Louvre
You know the Louvre, right? If you're not culturally savvy, you at least know it as the de-facto art-heist set piece from, like, every other Pierce Brosnan movie. It's the single most famous museum in the world. What you probably don't know about are all the quirky, under-the-radar spinoffs of the Louvre, like Storage Louvre, Forgotten Louvre, and even the controversial Sewer Louvre.
Here we see the Mom's Basement Louvre.
It turns out that most of the Louvre's holdings are in storage either under the Louvre or in warehouses in and around Paris. In fact, a huge chunk of the floorspace of the Louvre proper is used to store works, rather than display them. But at least the secret storerooms aren't some hoity-toity, know-the-right-people kind of deal: There's nothing glamorous about, say, those ancient Egyptian sarcophagi that were kept in secret rooms in the sewers underneath the Louvre for over 100 years because of a lack of space. Or the 3,000 16th century Ottoman tiles that Louvre curators just hucked into storage and forgot about back in the 1970s, only "rediscovering" and assembling them recently.
"Just stuff it in the junk room. If it ain't the Mona Lisa, it ain't shit."
To be fair, the Louvre has gotten better about its inventory, and it now rates slightly higher than a college freshman dorm in domestic organization. Curators are now, like, pretty sure they have cataloged everything they own. But that doesn't mean the vast bulk of their pieces are now or will ever be on display to the general public. They've simply got too much art; the Louvre is so lousy with history that they've got priceless artifacts literally coming out the wazoo (for the purposes of this article, "wazoo" refers to a small drainage portal in a forgotten sewer room being used to store ancient sarcophagi).
The Pope's Bathroom
There's a lot you can tell about other people by the contents of their bathroom. Fancy-smelling soaps mean there's a woman in the house, special kinds of shampoo might imply a dandruff problem, and a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition could indicate the last time a chronic masturbator forgot to pay the Internet bill.
And then there's the pope.
Here he is in his native habitat, stalking antelope, his natural prey.
No, we're not calling the Holy Father a chronic masturbator -- we're just saying that if you can judge a man by his bathroom porn, then His Holiness got some 'splaining to do. See, the papal apartments are ridiculously tough to get into, and for good reason. Not only is it where the pope drops his ineffabilis deus, but one of its papal bathrooms contains some pretty graphic pagan artwork. And by pagan, we mean there's a bunch of risque frescoes. And by risque frescoes, we mean there's everything from regular ol' nudity to explicit Roman deity rape all over the walls.
To explain, we have to go back a few centuries to a time when porn was considered an art form and not a perversion. In the 16th century, the great artist Raphael created a masterpiece known as the Stufetta del Cardinal Bibbiena at the behest of the titular Cardinal Bibbiena. Bibbiena was kind of a pervert first and a man of God second: He was intrigued by the "erotic pagan works" being uncovered in ancient Roman ruins and figured that Raphael was the right man to splash porn all over his bathroom walls. And looking at what's left today (many of the naughty bits have been *ahem* rubbed off), boy was he ever right.
Trust us, you don't want to get any closer than this. It's sticky.
As time passed, Bibbiena's Bathroom of Holy Erections was dedicated and rededicated, eventually ending up as part of the current papal apartments. Of course, the Holy Loo is not open to the public, so if you want to appreciate a seminal work by one of the greatest artists in history, you first have to a) dedicate your life to Catholicism and become the pope and b) chase a couple of bran muffins with some black coffee.
Evan V. Symon is a moderator in the Cracked workshop. When he isn't busy trying to find Cassius Coolidge paintings in a major museum, he can be found working on his latest novel, End of the Line, right here. Gabe does an Internet radio show here. Good luck figuring out which show is his.
For more artistic ridiculousness, check out 8 Filthy Jokes Hidden in Ancient Works of Art and 7 Famous Works of Art With Bizarre Mistakes You Can't Unsee.