The other day I was playing the excellent game What If This Wikipedia Article Were a Movie while reading the article for the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program in World War II, which is basically about a bunch of Indiana Joneses embedded in the front lines and tasked with using their museum training to save as much art as they could.

It led me to the Monuments Men Foundation site, where I found this painting stolen by the Nazis in 1937. It is Landscape with Rising Moon (House and Moon), by Paul Klee.

Paul Klee painted Goatse before it even existed. Image 1.

To anyone that’s hung out on the internet for enough time, this picture is immediately recognizable as the legendary disgusting 1999 meme, goatse.

Here is a link to goatse (NSFL).

Here’s a magic eye I made of goatse in case you don’t like looking at disgusting things:

Paul Klee painted Goatse before it even existed. Image 2.

Goatse was the internet’s very first shock picture, its first rickroll.  Look at this web site, you'd tell a friend, it’s a new Star Wars trailer.  Then you sit near them, so you can see their face, and watch their hopeful expectation turn into incredulous disgust. Usually slowly, because the image would load strip-by-strip, down from the top, 56k/s. When they finally understand what they are seeing, when their brain finally puts it together, that is a golden sort of moment. Yes, that is real human man stretching his own asshole far, far beyond god’s design specifications.  Yes, there is his giant erect penis. Yes, this world really does take all kinds. You can’t do drugs on the internet, so the next best thing is finding and sharing gross pictures.

So why did Paul Klee, legendary Modernist-era painter and teacher at the Bauhaus school, paint goatse before it even existed? He was known for his surprising and delightful use of color and his lectures on design theory, not for his love of gaping orifices!

Two facts:

 His work was featured (without his consent) in a Nazi exhibition called Degenerate Art, which attempted to make German nationals mistrust modern art. That kind of fits?

 Landscape with Rising Moon is also the title of a lovely Van Gogh piece. Perhaps he hoped people would try to see the Van Gogh painting, and then, in a tradition so classic it hadn’t been invented yet, he could be like haha nope it’s goatse.

Kenton deAngeli is a performance artist living in Brooklyn.