By: Myrte Brander and Lisa Sweere
On a chilly morning on the 21th of March 1986, Gerard Jan van Bladeren traveled to Het Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. His hatred toward abstract paintings, combined with a mix of schizophrenia and paranoia, resulted in him attacking Barnett Newman’s painting Who is Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue III with a knife. Newman couldn’t blame him, as his goal was to elicit an emotional and fierce reaction from the audience by using overwhelming primary colours on a massive canvas. But the story got an unexpected twist and tail. The restoration process turned out to be a great fiasco, costing four years, massive amounts of money and several court cases. The painting ultimately looked like someone went over it with a paint roller.
You might recognize the feeling of walking awfully close to the edge of a wall packed with super expensive paintings, while imagining yourself tripping and falling head-first through the Mona Lisa. This happened to a twelve-year-old Taiwanese boy last year. The boy tripped and punched his fist through Flowers, a 17th century oil painting by Paolo Porpora, worth 1.3 million. The scene is an interesting spectacle, especially since the boy’s fall seems quite unexplainable. Judge it yourself here.
- Disturbed party
‘That must have been a great party,’ was probably what the cleaners of the Museion in the Italian Bolzano thought the day after, while they were throwing all the empty bottles, glasses and confetti away. But by accident they ruined the famous artwork ‘where to dance tonight?’ from the artists Goldschmied & Chiari. In fact, there had been a party in the museum, so the cleaners thought that the artwork was the leftover. Luckily, ‘the trash’ wasn’t destroyed so the artwork could be made up again.
A happy wedding party took an unexpected turn for the woman that accidentally walked through Plexus 23 while being blinded by the sun. With her head in the clouds she probably didn’t notice the installation of blue and yellow sewing thread that was made by Gabriël Dawe. The artwork was irrecoverably damaged. Dawe flew over from the United States and offered to make a new work, but for Museum Rijswijk nothing could really replace this top piece of the Textile Biënnale. If you want to see a video of the damaged work, click here.
- Boring art
In the summer of 1993, a guard in the Whitney Museum of American Art was just so bored that he decided to renovate this artwork of Roy Lichtenstein a bit. He drew a heart with an inscription in the curtains and thought nobody would notice it. We still don’t know whether or not he could hold his job after this declaration of love.