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Displaying items by tag: Vandalism

Charges have been brought against an unnamed vandal after the repeated defacing of paintings at the Villa-Musée Jean-Honoré Fragonard in Grasse, south of France.

Le Figaro reports that a painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a respected Rococo master, reproductions of his work, and additional artworks by François Gérard and François-André Vincent have all been defaced using felt tip and ballpoint pen.

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A man was arrested early Sunday at the Whitney Museum of American Art after he spray-painted graffiti on a blank wall at the Jeff Koons retrospective during a 36-hour event to close the popular exhibit.

The man, Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, was arrested on charges of criminal mischief, making graffiti, possession of a graffiti instrument and criminal nuisance, the police said. He was taken into custody by police after he struggled with the museum’s security guards.

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Monday, 18 November 2013 13:03

Colombia Restores Botero Sculptures

Over two dozen sculptures by Fernando Botero are being restored in the artist’s hometown of Medellin, Colombia. The 27 works, which are situated in public places such as parks and streets, are beginning to show signs of weather damage and vandalism. Chewing gum, graffiti, dents and scratches mar the bronze figurative works’ once-radiant patina.

Maria Adelaida Bohorquez, a restorer at the Museum de Antioquia, the institution that owns most of the sculptures, believes that many of the unsightly damages can be fixed thanks to a labor-intensive restoration effort that is schedule to reach completion by the end of the year. Bohorquez added, “The sculptures will have the tone they did originally.”

Botero, who gave the project his blessing, has donated approximately 200 paintings and sculptures to Medellin as well as many others to the Botero Museum in Bogota.

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Wednesday, 09 January 2013 19:05

Picasso Vandal Surrenders

On June 13, 2012 a vandal spray-painted a stencil of a bullfighter killing a bull and the word “conquista” (Spanish for conquer) on Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Woman in a Red Armchair (1929). Officials named Houston-resident Uriel Landeros, 22, the assailant but were unable to locate him until he surrendered to authorities on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at the border of the United States and Mexico.

The vandalism incident took place at Houston’s Menil Collection and was caught on a cellphone video taken by a fellow museum patron. Landeros, an artist himself, claims that his act of defacement was meant to send a message promoting revolution and change. He was later charged with criminal mischief and felony graffiti, which prompted Landeros to flee the country. Officials believe he has been hiding out in Mexico since June.

Woman in a Red Armchair, which is valued at several million dollars, has since been restored.

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Thursday, 13 December 2012 17:29

Rothko Vandal Gets Two Years in Jail

On October 6, 2012, Vladimir Umanets, entered the Tate Modern in London and defaced the one of the museum’s most treasured paintings, a mural by Mark Rothko (1903-1970). Born Wlodzimierz Umaniec in Poland, 26-year-old Umanets currently lives in England.

Umanets vandalized Rothko’s Black on Maroon (1958) by writing his name in black paint along with “A Potential Piece of Yellowism” in the corner of the canvas. Umanets claimed that his defacement was an artistic act and compared himself to Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer of conceptual art known for his appropriation of objects.

Umanets appeared at Inner London crown court on December 13 and was given two years in jail by Judge Roger Chapple. Umanets had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

The Rothko mural was originally intended for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York and was given to the Tate as a gift from the artist in 1969. The Tate has made plans to restore the work, but the process will not be an easy one. Rothko often used unusual materials, such as eggs and glue, making restoration especially difficult. Officials estimate that the project will cost nearly $325,0000 and will take around 20 months to complete.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012 15:28

Rothko Vandal Charged

A man was charged in London after scrawling “Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism” in black paint on Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon at the Tate Modern on Sunday.

Wlodzimierz Umaniec, a 26-year-old Polish national who goes by the name “Vladimir Umanets” was arrested in connection with the act and charged with one count of criminal damage in excess of 5,000 pounds (about $8,000).

Created in 1958 for the Four Seasons in New York City, Black on Maroon was part of Rothko’s Seagram mural series. The crime took place during regular museum hours and a witness said that Umaniec sat quietly on a bench in front of the painting before defacing it.

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011 01:38

Poussin vandalism sparks museum fee debate

The freak act of rage has kick-started another debate on the viability of London’s free gallery entry system.

The event happened shortly before 5pm on Sunday afternoon, one of the gallery’s busiest times. An alarm was raised by a member of staff shortly after, a suspect was arrested, and the two Nicolas Poussin paintings, The Adoration of the Golden Calf and the Adoration of the Shepherds, were removed. (The Guardian have a picture of the damage)

The paintings have already been restored and returned to their hanging positions in the gallery’s permanent collection (room 19).

Was it an accident waiting to happen? The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones calls The Adoration of the Golden Calf “a sitting duck” this morning.

Admittedly, the event exposed a fatal blind spot in National Gallery’s policing. Our galleries, compared to most major international collections, appear relatively relaxed. Getting into Madrid’s Prado collection, for example, is like being admitted to a top security prison.

But the question is, would queuing, bag checking and paying for entry really stop these rare freak acts of violence? What fuels someone to do such a thing in first place?

Historically, most acts of vandalism against great works of art have been committed either by wannabe artists trying to make a statement - as per, in 2007, artist Rindy Sam kissed the canvas of Phaedrus by Cy Twombly, leaving a red lipstick mark, and was subsequently arrested - or by people who have been proved psychotic. The famous serial vandal Hans-Joachim Bohlmann (1937–2009) ended up in an institution, as did the school teacher who famously attacked Rembrandt's Night Watch in the Prado in 1975.

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Now showing at Los Angeles' Geffen Contemporary museum: "the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art," an exhibition that reverently displays "installations by 50 of the most dynamic artists from the graffiti and street art community."

Translation: They're having wine and cheese parties surrounded by framed images of urban blight. They're giving the destruction of other people's property a hallowed place in high-art halls.

And they're inviting school groups to tour this retrospective, even - no kidding - selling cans of spray paint (along with books like "Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art," $39.99) in the gift shop.

If all that weren't bad enough, this grand celebration of vandalism is slated to come to a museum near you - the Brooklyn Museum - in March.

Which means museum mavens will be sticking their thumbs in the eyes of every bodega owner and restaurant manager who struggles to keep his or her property graffiti-free, not to mention the eyes of all New Yorkers who cringe recalling the days of graffiti-covered subway cars.

They will be doing this with taxpayers' help. While the city spends some $2.4 million a year to battle vandalism, and the transit authority spends plenty more, taxpayers also subsidize the Brooklyn Museum to the tune of about $9 million a year.

Usually a fine investment. Not this time.

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