An art critic has ‘accidentally’ destroyed a piece worth $20,000 which shattered into pieces after she placed an empty soda can and attempted to photograph it at Mexico’s premiere art fair Zona Maco.
Reports said Avelina Lesper showed her disdain for the artwork by Gabriel Rico, ‘Nimble and sinister tricks’, by attempting to capture photograph after placing a can on top of the piece.
The artwork, a sheet of glass with a stone, soccer ball and other random objects suspended inside, plunged to the ground shortly after.
Later, the critic jokingly said, “It was like the work heard my comment and felt what I thought of it,” Lesper said in a video statement for Milenio, a Mexican media group that publishes her columns. ‘The work shattered into pieces and collapsed and fell on the floor.’
Lesper said she was then told the piece was valued at $20,000 while the gallery displaying the work criticised her behavior as unprofessional.
‘Lesper coming too close to the work to place a soda can on it and take a picture as criticism without a doubt caused the destruction,’ OMR gallery said in a statement via Instagram.
The gallery said the critic’s behavior showed an ‘enormous lack of professionalism and respect.’
OMR said Rico’s work is highly sought by collectors and art institutions at the moment, reported Dailymail UK.
Alfonso Miranda, director of the Soumaya art museum in Mexico, described the incident via Twitter as a ‘tragedy.’
Others took to social media to applaud the destruction as a performance piece, and to pan the sale of art that consists of used and found objects.
Lesper said she suggested the gallery leave the piece shattered, to show its evolution. When they rejected that idea, she said she offered to repair it.
The gallery said it would get in touch with the artist before announcing next steps.
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