And you thought it was bad when Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino owner and art collector, accidentally put his elbow through a Picasso painting he’d just sold for $139 million. Or when a woman attacked two paintings by Matisse and Gauguin in the National Gallery last year. But both of these stories sound downright genteel compared to what happened in Denver last week.
As reported in the Denver Post, on the afternoon of Dec. 29 an “apparently drunk” woman was arrested at the Clyfford Still Museum for leaning, pants pulled down, against a painting, punching it repeatedly, and then urinating on herself (though not, it seems, on the painting).
Carmen Lucette Tisch, 36, is charged with criminal mischief for the damage her drunken outburst caused to 1957-J-No. 2, an oil-on-canvas painting worth a reported $30–40 million.
Under normal circumstances, the museum might be concerned that the damage would affect the painting’s value, should they decide to deaccession it at some point in the future. However, the reclusive and controlling artist’s will stated that none of his paintings were to be sold or lent to other institutions. So it looks like the Clyfford Still Museum is stuck with the now-notorious 1957-J-No. 2.
Tisch, meanwhile, is being held in the Denver County Jail on $20,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow morning. We wonder what kind of New Year’s resolutions she might have subsequently come up with.