Gauguin Attacker Angered By "Very Homosexual" Art
Suspect said she was "CIA" with "a radio in my head"
UPDATE: Portrait (mug shot) of Susan Burns, from a previous arrest
APRIL 4--The woman who allegedly tried to tear a Gauguin painting off a wall at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has been identified as a 53-year-old convicted felon who, after her arrest Friday, told an investigator that the French artist was “evil” and that his artwork “has nudity and is bad for the children.”
Suspect Susan Burns, who turned 53 Friday, also said that the Gauguin painting “Two Tahitian Women,” which is pictured at right and valued at $80 million, is “very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned,” according to a criminal complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court. “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you,” added Burns, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
On Friday afternoon, Burns allegedly walked over to the Gauguin painting in Gallery 214-C and “grabbed the frame holding said painting on its left side and attempted to pull it off the wall.” Burns, the misdemeanor complaint charges, then “struck the middle of the painting with her right fist.” However, since the painting was “protected by a transparent acrylic shield on the front,” no damage was observed.
A further analysis today of the painting revealed no damage to it, according to Deborah Ziska, a National Gallery of Art spokesperson. The complaint reveals that the “entire sequence of events was also recorded on videotape.”
Burns, who pleaded not guilty Saturday to a pair of misdemeanor counts related to the attempted Gauguin assault, appears to have a lengthy rap sheet that includes convictions for carjacking, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and assault on a law enforcement officer. (2 pages)