AN ACT OF VANDALISM on one of of Pablo Picasso’s paintings at an art museum in Houston, Texas has been caught on camera and posted to YouTube.
The description under the video claims that the act was carried out by “young Mexican-American artist Uriel Landeros” who is seen painting a stencil “of a bullfighter killing a bull over an original 1929 Pablo Picasso painting” Woman in Red Armchair
The description also states that the stencil – which depicts an image of a bullfighter, a bull and the word ‘conquista’, which is Spanish for conquest – was a “dedication to the art beast Pablo Picasso”.
Within minutes of the vandalism being carried out officials at the museum rushed the valuable artwork into their onsite conservation lab, which they said has increased the odds of saving the painting.
Vance Muse, spokesperson for the Menil Collection has said that it’s unclear if the person who shot the video was a bystander or was working with the vandal. Police are currently reviewing the footage along with video obtained from CCTV in the museum.
A Facebook page for Uriel Landeros features a link to a news report about the vandalism and a comment from a user telling him to “stop posting this stuff”.
This is not the first time one of Picasso’s works has been vandalised. In 1999, an escaped mental patient in Amsterdam cut a hole in the middle of his Woman Nude Before Garden, a 1956 painting.
Other works of art have also been the target of vandals. Rembrandt’s Night Watch masterpiece has been slashed twice and sprayed once with sulfuric acid. The Mona Lisa has been attacked several times, including with acid, a rock and even a teacup.
The Menil, which opened in 1987 and is free to the public, will review its security measures, which include surveillance cameras and two dozen guards, Muse said. But he didn’t anticipate major changes, such as placing paintings behind protective glass or keeping visitors farther from the works of art.
“I think a museum-goer always appreciates it when a work of art seems more accessible than that. You don’t have all those layers”, he said. “And I think the Menil loves the fact the art there is very accessible. It’s almost like entering someone’s wonderful house.”
– Additional reporting by AP
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