“Why, I’m no Picasso, but…do you like it?”

To buy this film, click on the cover

I absolutely adore the museum scene.  Everyone looks as though they had a blast doing this.

I think watching the Joker’s defacement of the paintings turned me into the Dada/Futurist/just plain all around art history lover that I am now.  In this unforgettable scene, the Joker and his henchmen scrawl all over traditional art so the Clown Prince could establish a new form of art.  To elaborate, when one of his goons spray-paints a dollar bill sign on the George Washington portrait, it reminded me of Marcel Duchamp adding a mustache to the Mona Lisa in L.H.O.O.Q.   During the Joker’s conversation with Vicki Vale, he practically lays out his manifesto when explaining his “avant-garde of the new aesthetic”!  How very Futurist/Dadaist/Surrealist.  Furthermore, when he calls himself a “fully functioning homicidal artist” and demonstrating his desire to destroy a person, I thought of Jean Tinguely, his sculptures, and their intended self-destruction after a certain amount of time.

However, now that I am older and a frequent visitor of art museums, the layout of the Flugelheim Museum (ETA: I had to look up the name) left me amused.  Who in their right mind would have people eating near priceless artwork?  If a museum kept an eating place of any kind, they would keep it in a space far, far away from the art they had on exhibition.

This type of planning almost qualifies as a zoning law.

Then again, the film depicts Gotham City as a crime-filled, corrupt environment living in financial instability, so why would local curators even care about that sort of thing?  However, given this town’s reputation, it surprises me that outside museums, estates, and patrons would even allow these works to travel to this urban disaster area.

Art to look out for during defacement scene:

Self Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn (I think.  They used a dark reproduction in this movie)

Figure With Meat by Francis Bacon

Two Dancers by Edgar Degas

Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer van Delft

George Washington by Gilbert Stuart (I think)

Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga by Francisco Goya

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough

In other trivia, learn about production designer Anton Furst’s inspiration for Gotham City’s appearance.  As someone who’s studying Futurism for my Master’s Thesis, I felt overwhelming happiness that Furst used Futurism as one of his many guides.

ETA: Due to a now nonexistent YouTube embed, I had to rewrite a sentence. I also added a link.

ETA: Fixed the title and removed the border.

ETA: Rewrote a sentence.

Update 6-26-16: This review (that I read a long time ago) looks at an old Batman issue and Gotham City’s questionable zoning laws.


  1. Very fun Batman clip! I had forgotten about this defacement scene. You are right that there are some parallels with Dada and “L.H.O.O.Q.” I’m also reminded of a more recent example, when Alexander Brener spray painted a dollar sign onto a Malevich painting in 1997. (Maybe Brener got his idea from this Batman movie?) In this case, though, Brener was trying to make an artistic statement/critique about the monetary value of art. If I remember right, I don’t think that the Joker and his pals had such a statement in mind:


    • Thank you! At one time, I may have forgotten this scene, but subconsciously, it still left a massive influence on me.
      I am iffy about artists changing other artists’ work. On one hand, because of his activism, I don’t mind Banksy because you can more often than not remove his work. On the other hand, why don’t you go the Duchamp route by making a reproduction of that work and provide your message there? Unless the original artist had no problem with it, why do that?
      By the way, thank you for bringing the Brener situation to this.

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