7 Times Someone (Accidentally) Ruined a Valuable Work of Art

“7 Times Someone (Accidentally) Ruined a Valuable Work of Art”

by Olivia B. Waxman via “Time”


Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reports that security camera footage appears to show a young man falling into and punching a hole through a painting said to be worth $1.5 million. Flowers, a 17th century oil painting and one of the few signed works by Italian master Paolo Porpora, was on display at “The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius” exhibition at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei, according to CNA.

Below is a glimpse at other reports of tourists being clumsy at museums:

• In May, two tourists reportedly broke off the crown atop “Statue of the Two Hercules,” which sits in Piazza del Comune, a medieval square in Cremona, Italy, when the pair allegedly tried to climb it and take photos.

• Also in May, the Greek Culture Ministry said a tourist tried to touch a prehistoric, Minoan-era vase at the Museum of Iraklio and knocked it over, suffering a minor leg injury.

• Last March, a student reportedly climbed onto a 19th century statue depicting a “Drunken Satyr” at Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, Italy, to take a selfie and broke it.

• Last July, an American student got stuck inside Pi Chacan, a stone sculpture of a vagina by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara, which sat in front of Tübingen University’s Institute for Microbiology and Virology in Germany.

• In 2006, a man was arrested for smashing three 17th century Chinese porcelain vases said to be worth £500,000 (about $789,000) at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. . . . .


Artists (and Others) Talk About Art and Destruction

“Artists (and Others) Talk About Art and Destruction”

by John Seed via “Huffington Post

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” ― Pablo Picasso

During my last year of graduate school one of my art professors came by my studio one evening to lead a group critique session. “Someday,” he told me, “you will have a storage problem.”

Those were wise words. I took most of my graduate school work to the dump two years later.


The author’s post grad school dump run

Being an artist means making things, and those things can pile up fast. Only lucky works of art survive — or deserve to survive — while numerous other works are slashed, smashed, burned or trucked to the dump.

When I recently asked artist friends on my Facebook page to tell me stories about art and destruction I found that I had opened up a nerve-hitting topic. Artists destroy works both during and after their making, and they both savor and sometimes later regret their destructive impulses.

Here, in edited form, are some of the many anecdotes, comments and bits of wisdom that artists and others had to offer on the topic of art and destruction.


‪Stacy Rosende Bykuc‬‬‪

“Every piece has several destroyed compositions beneath. I call it ‘process.’ If a piece sucks, it’s just not done.‬‬‬”

‪April Zanne Johnson‬‬‪

If, as an artist, you love everything you make all the time and are never self-critical, it is impossible to grow and evolve‬‬‬.

‪Maria Teicher‬‬‪

“Shredded by hand with a razor (or ripped if paper)… the sound is intoxicating and freeing. Never had a single regret. I took photos before so I had it archived but have never looked back. I do a purge of work every 3-4 years and it’s great. Not everything goes but those I am not proud of or works that have lost their meaning in my life.‬‬‬”

Kate Shepherd

Just today. Etchings.


Nathan Lewis

“I destroyed a 52 ft. wide painting. Tired of storing. Tired of hanging onto it. Some things are better in memory.”

Lauren Levato Coyne

“In an essay I just posted I detail throwing a six foot drawing out the window. No regrets.”

‪Joe Fay‬‬‪

“When I left LA I threw out a few really old paintings in the dumpster at my studio. Before I left I saw a homeless person had made a shelter out of them. I was happy. More recently I’ve been cutting up and recycling old paper pieces and using them on my painted wall reliefs.”

‪Kenn Raaf‬‬‪

“75% of the finished work I do is deconstructed. Cut, torn, burned, sanded and then reassembled and recomposed into something radically different. As for paper used in sketch work I oftentimes cut into strips and weave to use as texture in my abstract work, and filler in my sculpture.‬‬‬” . . . .


Digital collage by based on a photo by David Michael Slonim



Use Force to Stop ISIS’ Destruction of Art and History

“Use Force to Stop ISIS’ Destruction of Art and History”

by Hugh Eakin via “NY Times

Will the world do nothing to stop extremist groups from destroying some of civilization’s most treasured monuments?

The question has confronted Western governments with stark urgency in the weeks since the Islamic State released a video of militants smashing ancient sculptures at the Mosul Museum. In early March, following reports that extremists attacked the ancient Assyrian sites of Nimrud and Hatra, Iraqi officials pleaded for American airstrikes to stop them. But so far the United States and its allies have wrung their hands.

Secretary of State John Kerry described the devastation as “one of the most outrageous assaults on our shared heritage that perhaps any of us have seen in a lifetime.” Irina Bokova, the director general of Unesco, said: “This is not just a cultural tragedy. It’s also a security issue, with terrorists using the destruction of heritage as a weapon of war.” The United Nations Security Council condemned the “targeted destruction of religious sites and objects” by the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.

But the United Nations says it is largely powerless to deal with the threat, and Western governments claim they have more urgent military objectives.

This is dangerously wrong. By loudly deploring this “war crime” and doing nothing, the world may be playing into the extremists’ hands. “ISIS is doing it because they can,” Amr Al-Azm, an Ohio-based Syrian anthropologist, told me. “They are striking at things the international community holds dear, but is impotent to do anything about.”

Since 2011, five of the six Unesco World Heritage sites in Syria have suffered significant damage; four have been requisitioned for military purposes by different groups, in direct violation of international protocols. Tunnel bombs have devastated Aleppo’s old city; thousand-year-old minarets have been detonated; medieval forts have been shelled; Parthian and Hellenistic sites have been pillaged.

Then came the Islamic State, which turned such attacks into an explicit strategy. Taking over archaeological sites near its stronghold, the northern city of Raqqa, the group turned local looting brigades into large-scale businesses. And it has used social media to broadcast the carefully choreographed destruction of mosques, cemeteries, libraries and other monuments belonging to any groups or sects it regards as deviant.


ISIS thugs take a hammer to civilisation: Priceless 3,000-year-old artworks smashed to pieces in minutes as militants destroy Mosul museum

“ISIS thugs take a hammer to civilisation: Priceless 3,000-year-old artworks smashed to pieces in minutes as militants destroy Mosul museum”

by Julian Robinson via “Daily Mail

Islamic State thugs have destroyed a collection of priceless statues and sculptures in Iraq dating back thousands of years.

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artwork as they rampaged through a museum in the northern city of Mosul.

Video footage shows a group of bearded men in the Nineveh Museum using tools to wreck 3,000-year-old statues after pushing them over.

Scroll down for video 

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul 

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul

Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.

Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.

One of the items, depicting a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity, dates back to the 9th century B.C.

A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry.

‘The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,’ the unidentified man said.


ISIS Starts to Dismantle Iraqi Archaeological Site of Hatra: Officials

“ISIS Starts to Dismantle Iraqi Archaeological Site of Hatra: Officials”

by Elisha Fieldstadt via “NBC NEWS”

ISIS militants have begun dismantling the ancient archaeological site of Hatra in northern Iraq in their ongoing effort to eliminate the region of what they consider idolatrous imagery, Iraqi authorities said Saturday.

The militants have destroyed parts of Hatra, about 70 miles south of Mosul, and started to pilfer antiques from the city, Qais Hussein Rashid, deputy minister of tourism and antiquities, told NBC News. He called the attack “a new crime against the Iraqi civilization and humanity in general.”

The ancient city was classified as a World Heritage Site by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1985. Hatra, largely built in the 2nd century B.C., was the capital of the first Arab Kingdom and survived invasions by the Romans in 116 and 198 A.D. because of its thick walls surrounded by towers, according to UNESCO.

ISIS has embarked on a campaign to destroy relics and historical sites that they apparently view as heretical. Last week, the group released a video that showed militants purportedly using sledgehammers to smash ancient artifacts in northern Iraq. On Thursday, the Iraqi government said the group had “bulldozed” the city of Nimrud, a 13th century B.C. Assyrian archaeological site just south of Mosul. UNESCO called the destruction of the city a war crime.

“The world and international organizations should stand against such a brutal assault on the human heritage,” Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement. “Otherwise,” the ministry added, “these gangs will commit more crimes and violations against the civilization.”

Image: Iraqi children run in front of a temple in the historic city of Hatra in 2002