Gallery closed after attack

The Goodman Gallery has decided to temporarily close following Tuesday's chaotic events.

The Spear - defaced. Picture: Stephen Grootes/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Goodman Gallery on Tuesday said it will temporarily close its premises and will move the President Jacob Zuma painting to another location.

Officials from the Johannesburg gallery said they had to take these steps to protect staff and visitors after the painting was defaced on Tuesday morning.

Two men were arrested after they damaged the artwork that depicts Zuma with his genitals exposed.

A fine art evaluator, Anthony Wiley, said the controversial painting could be restored.

He said even without restoration, the painting was still valuable.

Gallery owner Liza Essers said she was deeply upset by the extent of rage shown towards the image.

She said she was surprised that the painting resulted in threats of physical action.

Meanwhile, the two men accused of defacing the image could be released soon.

It emerged that they did not know each other before the attack.

Meanwhile, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday said three judges would hear Zuma's application to have the portrait removed.

The court will also hear arguments from Zuma's children and a BBC reporter who was able to record sound from the two men that defaced the picture.

Furthermore, the Film and Publication Board (FPB) said it will meet with the City Press and Goodman Gallery on Tuesday evening to discuss the matter.

On Monday, the board visited the gallery to assess whether the painting should be classified as pornographic.