The Huffington Post reports that 36-year-old Denver woman Carmen Tisch punched, scratched, rubbed her butt on, and peed next to a $30-$40 million Clyfford Still painting, “1957-J-No.2.”
Officials from the Clyfford Still Museum, which opened only two months ago, are dismayed by what Mark Koebrich, at the local NBC affiliate, deems “a violent and disgusting outburst of emotion.”
Reports conflict about said urine’s trajectory and intent. Fox News first reports that Tisch “urinated against it,” then concedes that she “slid down the painting and urinated on herself. “Next to” is the phrase chosen by the Huff Post headline. All reports grant, though, that no urine hit the painting.
The true outrage lies in the damage to the museum’s reputation, claims local gallery owner Ivar Zeile, posed on NBC in front of a Ken Burns-esque close-up of the offended painting. He states:
Something as ridiculous as a woman coming in, who’s probably unknown to anybody, being able to touch the piece is kind of a slap in the face to the authority of the museum.
Even NBC fleetingly acknowledges how fucked up that statement is. When Zearle blabs that “An artistic creation, it’s a singular thing…,” the news anchor interjects: “singular, meaning no one else can own it.” The Denver Post reports that Tisch was “apparently drunk” at the time of the incident, the only explanation offered for such behavior.
Still’s value was last discussed when the city of Denver sold four of his paintings at Sotheby’s in order to raise money for his museum. The artist’s $21.3 million auction record was shattered by a $61.7 million sale amidst raging November protest, which amounted basically to class warfare. While Sotheby’s broke its 2008 auction record and accumulated a total of $315.8 million in proceeds, OWS protestors and art handlers booed “shame” at incoming staffers and attendees. This was perhaps the nadir of the ongoing protests by locked-out art handlers, who claim that Sotheby’s refuses to make any progress in contract negotiations, despite teamsters’ concessions.
The damage to “1957-J-No.2” is estimated at $10,000 – a drop in the bucket compared to its estimated $30-40 million value. Tisch is held at the Denver County Jail at a bond of $20,000, and will face court charges on Friday.