A 91-year-old visitor “solved” a crossword puzzle featured in an artwork hanging in the museum, horrifying the museum staff at the Neues Museum Nürnberg, in southern Germany.
The elderly woman damaged the work by using a ball-point pen to fill out the blank boxes in a work by German Fluxus artist Arthur Köpcke, according to museum spokesperson Eva Martin. It seems that the local woman took the artist’s invitation to
a bit too literally. Shortly afterward, the retired dentist was escorted to the local police station for questioning.
The seven fellow members of the literary club of a local senior center, which organized the trip to the museum, criticized the institution and the police for what they described as ill treatment of of the woman accusing them of treating their friend like criminal. Club members were particularly upset about the authorities’ suggestion that their friend, whom they describe as enviably fit both physically and mentally, suffered from dementia. Museum spokesperson denied that the lady was treated badly,
“There were probably no ill intentions, but we have to report the damage.”
She added that it was not normally in her nature to call the police on an elderly woman, but she had no choice but to follow protocol and file a criminal complaint. The museum indicated that the artwork is under evaluation by the restoration department. The extent of the damage is unclear but the insurance value is $89,000.
I can relate on serval levels. My work is based on vintage paint by number, combined with words which are usually not filled in. My dealers have been asked by collectors and viewers on more than one occasion if they can “finish the work” once they buy it. People are dying to get involved with art, hence the coloring book craze. I’m currently working on one myself, a collaborative adult coloring book called YES! Transform your Life with Color By Number (Regan Arts). So for $10, you can safely go to town, in the museum café rather than the galleries where you are likely to get into trouble. I should send this lady one once it’s out this November .