Thursday, January 5, 2012

Performance Artist Damages Painting

According to Greg Wilson of NBC Southern California, a possible Colorado performance artist, allegedly drunk, “was arrested after scratching, punching and, well, rubbing her butt against Clyfford Still's ‘1957-J no.2’ and causing an estimated $10,000 damage to the artwork at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver.”

Mr. Still died in 1980. He was considered, according to the NMBC report, “one of the most influential of the American post-World War Two abstract expressionist artists, although he was not as well known as others such as Jackson Pollock” – until now.

Four of Mr. Still’s paintings were auctioned last year by Sotheby’s and brought in $114 million, a sum that endowed the Denver museum, which opened in November.

The performance artist, Ms. Carman Tisch, “dropped her pants at a museum and rubbed her rear end all over a painting valued at $30 million,” according the NBC report. Tragedy was averted when the lady attempted to urinate on the painting – and missed. Her aim apparently was off.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office told the Denver Post, "You have to wonder where her friends were."

Evidently, they had scurried away, muttering a few words from T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land”:

“My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
I never know what you are thinking. Think."

Possibly her friends were in search of a Jackson Pollock elsewhere in the museum.

Ms. Tisch was charged with felony criminal mischief on Wednesday and has been held on a $20,000 bond since the incident in late December, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office.

There has been no attempt from the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) to snatch Ms. Tisch from the clutches of benighted prosecutors unaware of the Constitutional rights of performance artists.

The story bears watching.

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