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Menil Menace: Picasso Vandalism Story Grows More Bizarre


Left: Picasso, “Woman in a Red Armchair,” 1929, before the attack
Right: Detail showing the defacement, as caught on a visitor’s video

The story of the spray-paint attack on a Picasso at the Menil Collection, Houston, keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Tyler Rudick of CultureMap Houston reports that “a Monday afternoon e-mail circulated among faculty and staff at the University of Houston” suggested that “a student from the university has been linked to the crime.”

What’s more, Rudick wrote that “on Tuesday, CultureMap spoke with the cameraman who shot the eyewitness
video. He stressed that he had nothing to do with the attack….After shooting the video and immediately posting it on
YouTube, the eyewitness said he unexpectedly bumped into the
tagger-artist several days later and asked him about the incident. The
vandal gave him a hand-written letter detailing his artistic
The witness showed CultureMap a typed version of the vandal’s original statement.” If you care to, you can read this written rant at the above linked CultureMap report.

We can only hope that the witness and CultureMap have shared what they know with the police.

In an e-mail sent to me on Wednesday (which included the above images), Gretchen Bock Sammons, the Menil’s communications assistant, reaffirmed that “the damage is being undone by our experts, and the prognosis is excellent.”

I still have not received an answer to my (repeated) question of how many of the Menil’s 24 guards were actually on the premises at the time of the vandalism.

an ArtsJournal blog