18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
18/11/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
What Happens when Art is Destroyed?
What would happen if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art?

‘Christopher Walken paints over and destroys an original Banksy on-set!’ exclaimed excited headlines earlier this week, eager to play off of the narrative of a priceless artwork being destroyed by mistake. Only later on in those articles was it made clear that the veteran actor’s actions were far from mistaken. In fact, Banksy created the graffiti specifically for the production of the Bristol-set BBC comedy The Outlaws with the express intention of having it painted over by Walken’s character, a conman named Frank serving a community service sentence.

Christopher Walken paints over an original Banksy in The Outlaws

Nevertheless, it’s a question which has long been a nightmare for the more anxiety-prone art-lovers: what if I accidentally tripped and destroyed a piece of art? Simply being on display to the public carries a certain level of risk, with galleries having to strike a balance between preservation and accessibility. The internet is full of stories and security footage from galleries of varying degrees of accidental destruction, from the smashing of Jeff Koons’ Red Balloon Dog in 2008 to the infamous video of the woman knocking over a series of pedestals domino-style at L.A. gallery The 14th Factory, destroying $200,000 worth of multimedia work by Simon Birch in the process.

Destroyed Red Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons

The answer to the titular question, however, is somewhat underwhelming; not much happens when art is destroyed. Galleries are aware that accidents happen, and most works are insured against such events. When, during a 2015 exhibition in Taipei, a 12 year-old boy tripped and punched a hole in the 350 year-old Flowers by Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5 million, the gallery went out of their way to reassure the boy and his family that they would not be liable. Similarly, when the crossword segment of Arthur Köpcke’s Reading-work-piece was filled in by a 91 year-old visitor, it was jokingly suggested that she should in fact sue the gallery for erasing her answers.

The damage done to Flowers by Paolo Porpora

Even in the event that the artwork isn’t insured, the penalty is rarely harsh, as in the case of Nick Flynn, who tripped and broke three 17th Century Qing Dynasty vases on display at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006. While the vases weren’t insured, Flynn was not charged with any criminal damage, nor was he even banned from visiting the museum, though he was issued with a polite letter asking that he wait for a while before visiting again.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006

Where some interest still lies, however, is the point at which art is considered to be irreparably destroyed; while the previously-mentioned Flowers was soon restored, along with The Actor by Picasso, which sustained a six-inch tear when a woman fell into it during an art class, the cost of repair may cost more than the artwork itself. It is at this point that the piece is legally declared ‘not art’, or ‘no longer art’. Within the realms of the conceptual, such themes may form the basis of the art itself. Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning is exactly what its title suggests: a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning commissioned by Rauschenberg with the express intention of erasing it before it could be put on display.

Erased De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953

These works, whether destroyed deliberately or inadvertently, serve as the inspiration for Jes Fernie’s online ‘Archive of Destruction’, a project which has run since 2010, cataloguing artworks which are now ascribed ‘valueless’. What the site serves to remind us is that art, like all things, is ultimately impermanent. Some of the more recent entries to the archive featuring the tearing down of historically racist statues such as that of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, even demonstrate that the act of destroying art can even be a cathartic one, indicative of positive social change and upheaval.

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