Artist Will Destroy $45 Million Worth of Art – Including by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Andy Warhol – If Wikileaks Founder Julien Assange Dies in Prison

Artist Will Destroy $45 Million Worth of Art – Including by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Andy Warhol – If Wikileaks Founder Julien Assange Dies in Prison

A contemporary art installation? A protest? A vital question? Pure nonsense?

A Russian artist living in France created a project- controversy called ‘Dead Man’s Switch’, that can end up destroying millions of dollars in celebrated paintings.

In protest of Wikileaks’ Julien Assange’s incarceration and potential deportation, the artist is trying to ‘spark’ a discussion over why ‘destroying the life of people means nothing but destroying art is a huge taboo in the world’.

CBS News reported:

“An artist in the south of France is planning to destroy up to $45 million worth of art, including pieces by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Andy Warhol, if Wikileaks founder Julien Assange dies in prison.

Andrei Molodkin says he has put masterpieces that have been donated to him in a 29-ton safe hooked up to two barrels – one containing an acid powder and the other containing an accelerator – which, when pumped into the safe, will create a reaction strong enough to destroy all its contents.”

Molodkin’s ‘Dead Man’s Switch’ is backed by Julien Assange’s wife, Stella.

Assange is in jail in the U.K. awaiting an appeal over extradition to the United States, where he will face charges under the Espionage Act.

“‘In our catastrophic time – when we have so many wars – to destroy art is much more taboo than to destroy the life of a person’, Molodkin, who is originally from Russia but now lives in France, told [the press]. ‘Since Julian Assange has been in prison… freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of information has started to be more and more repressed. I have this feeling very strongly now’.”

The safe with the artwork and the chemical device will be sealed on Friday 915) at Molodkin’s studio in France. It will eventually be moved to a museum.

“Molodkin says that the safe will be hooked up to a 24-hour timer which must be reset every day or else it will trigger the release of the two barrel’s corrosive substances inside. He says, each day, the timer will only be reset when someone ‘close to Assange’ confirms he is alive.”

Works were donated to the project by people like Milan art gallery owner Giampaolo Abbondio and Artist Franko B.

“Assange’s wife, Stella, says the project asks the question of ‘which is the greater taboo: destroying art or destroying human life? […] The true targets here are not just Julian Assange but the public’s right to know, and the future of being able to hold power accountable’, Stella [said]. ‘If democracy wins, the art will be preserved – as will Julian’s life’.”

The Guardian reported:

“‘I’m not trying to destroy art, and I don’t believe I will have to’, Molodkin told the Guardian, adding that the project, called Dead Man’s Switch, was itself a collaborative artwork like any sculpture or portrait.

‘It’s not activism. I believe that Assange will be free and all the collectors and artists who have donated their work did so because they believe he will not die in prison’.”

Does destroying lives of people really that much less concerning than destroying valuable artwork?

“One of the most important examples is Julian Assange. He’s in prison just for the [material he published]. He changed the history of journalism and information. He changed the world. Personally for me, it was a world before him and a world after.”

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