Couple Gets Caught On CCTV Unwittingly Defacing US$440,000 Artwork In Gallery

Image via Shutterstock

An art piece created by an American graffiti artist, showcased in South Korea, has been defaced by a couple in their 20s. The pair had thought the sets of paint and brushes placed in front of the artwork were for spectators’ use.

The 240cm by 700cm (94.5″ by 275.6″) Untitled artwork is said to be worth US$440,000 and was painted by artist JonOne in 2016 in front of an audience in Seoul. The piece will be hung at the Street Noise exhibition at the Seoul-based Lotte World Mall until June 13.

JonOne, whose real name is Jon Andrew Perello, completed the artwork during a graffiti museum show, The Great Graffiti, at the Seoul Arts Center. When the piece was complete, it was displayed the same way it looks now, along with all the props used by the artist.

Paint cans and brushes from the live performance were moved with the artwork to the gallery at Lotte World Mall, and are displayed on the ground in front of the painting and considered part of the artwork.

Staff at the exhibition noticed new brush strokes on the wall; there were small strokes of dark green to the right of the center. After looking through the security camera, they saw a young man and woman picking up some of the paint and splattering it on the artwork.

The couple was arrested by the police but was later released without charges pressed because it appeared to be an honest mistake.

Kang Wook, the CEO of Contents Creator of Culture, said, “They thought they were allowed to do that as participatory art and made a mistake. We are currently in discussions with the artist about whether to restore it.”

Since the accidental painting, the agency in charge of the exhibition has provided additional guidelines for visitors and increased the surveillance around the work to prevent such incidents from happening again.

A young couple accidentally vandalized a painting worth about $500,000 at a gallery in Seoul, its exhibition head said on Friday. Footage showed the couple using acrylic paint and a brush that were part of a display near the artwork to splatter a new addition to the piece.

— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 2, 2021

Artwork damaged by couple who thought brushes and paint in front of piece were for visitors’ use

— The Independent (@Independent) April 4, 2021

[via Insider, cover image via Shutterstock]

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