WTF Art History

A Visitor Damages Piece Of Art – No Worries, It Will Be Fixed

Zuzanna Stańska 29 August 2017 min Read

I love Ives Klein. It’s hard to explain as his works are JUST BLUE – or maybe I should say INTERNATIONAL KLEIN BLUE (IKB). But apparently this appreciation can be deadly for Klein’s art.

On August 16th, in The Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) in Brussels, a visitor trod upon on and damaged a work in the Yves Klein exhibition, Theatre of the Void.

While approaching another work across a gallery space, the visitor inadvertently walked on Pigment bleu sec (Dry Blue Pigment), a shallow wood basin spread with sand and the artist’s signature matte pigment, International Klein Blue (IKB), leaving white footprints on the work and blue material on the floor.

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Ives Klein, Pigment bleu sec (Dry Blue Pigment)

As the museum spokeswomen commented on that horrid event:

“Even though we have several safety measures (warning signs, a partial barrier and a guard), the man was too fascinated [with the other work] to notice all of that,” a museum spokeswoman tells The Art Newspaper. Bozar employees fully restored the work in-situ the same day, re-arranging the sand and adding more IKB. Dry Blue Pigment, first conceived in 1957, must be re-installed with new sand and pigment each time it is shown, the spokeswoman adds, “so it’s not the same as damage to a ‘unique piece’”.

In April, a journalist walked on a similar Klein work at the Musée d’Art moderne et d’Art contemporain (MAMAC) in Nice during a press opening for the show About Nice: 1947-77 (until 22 October).

Following the incident at Bozar, a museum visitor tweeted a picture of the post-damage cleanup, and wrote”

damage art DHYDVa7XsAAkksL
Source: Tom (@Bromtommig)

It’s difficult to say if the visitor will have to pay for anything or will be somehow punished. But for sure it’s a lesson for contemporary art galleries, that they should REALLY be careful how do they display pieces of art.

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