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Woman Defiles Unprotected $30 Million Painting in Latest Museum Attack

Take this for what it's worth, since I admittedly do not know anything about the art world. Regardless, I still contend that at some point in the not-so-distant future, we will look back and say, "Remember when art galleries used to have $30 million masterpieces sitting unprotected in hallways where patrons could accidentally stumble into them, slam them against the wall, or even pull down their pants and literally wipe their bare buttocks on them?"

I have held this belief ever since I read about the clumsy lady who lost her balance while walking in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, tumbled into Picasso's “The Actor” painting and caused a six-inch tear resulting in $65 million in damage. Really? That's all it takes to destroy a priceless Picasso -- one false step by any of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Met? Everyone is cool with that?

Then I started reading about the non-accidental attacks on art, like the recidivist art-attacker in the D.C. area who first tried to tear an $80 million Gauguin painting off the wall of the National Gallery of Art, then followed that up four months later by returning to the National Gallery and body-slamming a Matisse oil painting against a wall three times.

And now we have the alleged exploits of one Carmen Tisch, a Colorado woman who decided to start punching and scratching a $30 million oil-on-canvas painting by artist Clyfford Still called "1957-J no.2" at the Clyfford Still museum in Denver, Reuters reports. For good measure, she also then "pulled her pants down to slide her buttocks against it," causing $10,000 worth of damage. Oh, and she also then "urinated after she rubbed up against the canvas, but whether urine got on the painting was still under investigation. ..."

I asked this back in January 2010 when Clumsy Lady wrecked the Picasso, and I'll ask it again two years later: Why is this lack of security or at least basic protection for priceless art so common? No other priceless items seem to be treated this way. I cannot walk in to the National Archives and jab my umbrella through the Declaration of Independence. I cannot head over to the Smithsonian, grab the Hope Diamond and throw it down the escalator. Why do art galleries work this way?

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 6, 2012 at 04:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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