Most of us have an overwhelming desire to make an impression on our first day in a new job. An unnamed security guard, on his first day of duty at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre in Ekaterinburg could not resist adding some finishing touches to Anna Leporskaya’s avant-garde painting entitled Three Figures which she had painted between 1932 and 1934.
He drew eyes on the faceless figures of the painting which formed part of an exhibition of abstract art. To make matters worse, he used a ballpoint pen provided by the gallery.
Leporskaya’s work is insured for £740,000, but, fortunately, the guard did not press too hard, and the damage was relatively superficial, the ink only slightly penetrating into the paint layer.
It took two visitors to draw a gallery employee’s attention for the additions to be noticed. The painting was removed from the exhibition to be touched up and the guard was fired.
A famous, if controversial, statue had its chips in the early hours of New Year’s Day. The four-metre-tall statue, a representation of the Spunta potato, a staple crop grown in the village of Xylophagou in Cyprus, was chopped down by vandals.
Nicknamed the “big potato” it has been a popular backdrop for selfies, although its shape has drawn some unwarranted comments on social media. Its creator, community leader George Tasou, stood guard over the statue until the early hours but then delegated guard duties to another.
Whether they were asleep on the job is not clear, but at around 3.30am it was found on the ground having been cut from its stand, causing damage estimated at £4,000.
It remains to be seen whether another statue will sprout in its place.
Modern art, especially so-called street art, can be bewildering at times to the viewer. The artist is looking to provoke a reaction, but American graffiti artist, John Andrew Perello, got more than he bargained for when his abstract piece which goes by the original name of “Untitled” was displayed at P/O/S/T, a gallery in Seoul’s Lotte Street Mall.
A strikingly colourful piece, it measures 22.9 feet by 7.8 feet. It is displayed complete with paint buckets and brushes lying beneath, an integral part of the artwork, according to the artist. A young couple on March 28th saw the paints as an invitation to collaborate and they cheerfully added a few strokes of their own, damaging a painting valued at $440,000.
The couple were caught on CCTV and were embarrassed by their mistake. No charges were pressed, and the vandalised or enhanced painting remained on display until the exhibition ended. The artist was initially upset, but after some reflection considered that the South Koreans additions to his painting showed how art connects with us all.
Modern art can be bewildering at times and sometimes you wonder whether the artist is taking the piss.
Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg in Denmark commissioned Danish artist, Jens Haaning, to recreate his 2010 paintings, “An Average Danish Annual Income” and “An Average Austrian Annual Income”. These two pieces of work each featured cash to the value of the then average incomes in the two countries. The museum gave him $84,000 to use in the works and undertook to provide an extra $6,000 if required.
The canvases were duly delivered by the artist to the Museum. When the staff unpacked the canvases, they had a bit of a surprise. Both were blank and were entitled “Take the Money and Run”.
Although the curator laughed at first, he now fails to see the funny side and is demanding that Haaning either fulfils his side of the bargain or pays the money back. Haaning responded by saying “The artwork is essentially about the working conditions of artists. It is a statement saying that we also have the responsibility of questioning the structures that we are part of. And if these structures are completely unreasonable, we must break with them. It can be your marriage, your work – it can be any type of societal structure”.
A painting fell off the wall of a country home outside Rome in 2016 and was sent off to an art restorer, Antonella Di Francesco, to be patched up. As she stripped off centuries of varnish Antonella became increasingly interested in what she was uncovering. It was not just any old painting but Rembrandt’s Adoration of the Magi, painted around 1632-33 and considered to have been long lost.
Copies of the painting had survived, the most famous being in Gothenburg and St Petersburg. The French Academy of the Villa Medici were called in to authenticate the painting and have recently confirmed that it is the real McCoy.
Although it is estimated to have a sale value of up to $240 million, the family have no intentions of putting it under the hammer. Instead, they propose to lend it out to galleries and museums which is jolly sporting of them.
At least, they should now be able to afford some plaster for the hole in the wall.