The most curious art accidents

10. Juni 2019 at 12:37
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Is that art, or can that go away? Again and again works of art are destroyed intentionally or unintentionally in galleries. From clumsy visitors, overzealous cleaning ladies, or nature. Art accidents often cause damage running into millions. But sometimes the works also gain in value.

Selfie Domino

A particularly curious art accident happened a few days ago in Los Angeles. A slapstick director couldn’t have staged it better! A girl wants to pose for a photo in front of several ceramic crowns. She kneels down, loses her balance and falls backwards. She triggers a chain reaction and several works of art smash on the floor. The damage: Over 200,000 dollars. A nightmare for the gallery and the visitor. But the artist Simon Birch takes it with humor. The fact that his ceramic crowns were so simply destroyed is also proof of how fragile such symbols of power are.

Art accidents in galleries

The surveillance cameras in museums repeatedly record such curious events. Sometimes it’s pure clumsiness, but often also too much curiosity on the part of the visitors, as in this video.

The hobby painter – I can do better than that!

The case of a Spanish pensioner from Borja received a lot of attention in 2012. The hobby restorer wanted to freshen up the Jesus fresco „Ecce Homo“ a bit and did it… well, not really embellish it. But see for yourself.

So Mr. Bean isn’t the only danger to publicly accessible images.

Wiped away

What actually happens very often is that cleaners simply wipe away works of art because they don’t recognize them. The most famous case is probably the destruction of Joseph Beuys‘ „Fettecke“ at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1986. A cleaning lady simply cleaned them away. Something similar happened to Beuys as early as 1960 with his work „Untitled (Bathtub).

But „Reinigungswahn vs. Kunst“ is not a typically German problem. In 2005, the cleaning lady of London’s Tate Britain simply threw a work by the artist Gustav Metzger into the trash. And the works of the great graffiti artist Banksy have also repeatedly been the victims of overmotivated cleaning teams. This happened in London, Bristol, or in Melbourne, Australia.

Art of Destruction

In 2007, a storm caused a twelve-meter-high Documenta artwork by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to collapse in Kassel. But he didn’t even think about rebuilding the wooden tower. The tower consists of doors and windows of old houses that had fallen victim to the building boom in China, „That’s better than before,“ Ai Weiwei commented on the ruins. The value of the work has now doubled.

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