'Bored' museum security guard draws eyes on pricey Russian painting
Ever thought a museum artwork needed your special touch? One guard learned the hard way to leave art to the artists.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
What is it with amateur artists believing they can improve acclaimed artwork? Yet another work of art has been altered by someone who had no business picking up a pen -- although this one at least seems easier to fix than most.
Artist Anna Leporskaya's Three Figures painting recently was on exhibit at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The faces on the three figures were blank, with just a suggestion of features, until a bored security guard with a ballpoint pen decided two of them needed drawn-in eyes.
Britain's Daily Mail shared an image of the work both before and after it had been vandalized. The Yeltsin Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the newspaper, the painting was on loan from Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery, and was damaged by the security guard "after he is said to have became bored on his first day."
His first day quickly became his last day, as the guard got fired, and the artwork was sent back to its Moscow gallery. A restoration expert says the damage can be repaired, according to a statement from the Yeltsin Center cited by the paper. The statement noted that the guard was not employed by the center itself, but was hired by a private security organization.
The guard could face a $534 fine (£395, AU$744) and a one-year labor sentence. While the painting's value wasn't listed, it is insured for $1 million (£740,000, AU$1.3 million), and its restoration has been estimated at $3,342 (£2470, AU$4,657).
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