Earlier this month, a famous 1929 Picasso painting located at the Menil Collection was vandalized. The painting, called “Woman in a Red Armchair” was tagged with a spray-painted stencil of a bull and bullfighter. The word “conquista” was also sprayed on the piece. Now, criminal charges are pending because of the incident.
An eyewitness video of the incident has hit the Internet, gaining a staggering 100,000 hits on YouTube within a week. A man’s name is posted on the video and many believe him to be the culprit of the tagging. The cameraman denies having anything to do with the incident.
The cameraman now states he ran into the accused man on the street, subsequent to the tagging. He alleges the man gave him a letter that detailed his motivation behind the event. The letter is now featured on a number of local Houston news sources.
The letter specifies the reason behind the vandalism was to highlight the fact that many people suffer injustices of all kinds.
Late last week, authorities charged the 22-year-old University of Houston Student named in the video. The charges include two third-degree felony counts of criminal mischief and felony graffiti. In Texas, a felony conviction can have very serious consequences for suspect.
As for “Woman in a Red Armchair,” the consequences appear to be less severe. A museum spokeswoman has said the painting will be restored by the Menil’s conservation lab and that the painting is expected return to display soon.
As of last report, the suspect in this incident had been charged, but not arrested.
Sources: Culture Map, “The latest on the Menil Picasso vandalism: Sifting through rumors, allegations & motivations,” Tyler Rudick, June 20, 2012
CNN, “Man charged with vandalizing Picasso masterpiece,” June 23, 2012