Couple Who Defaced $400,000 Painting Thought It Was a Public Art Project
The vandalism of a piece by the graffiti artist JonOne at a gallery in South Korea has prompted a debate about contemporary art.
SEOUL — The couple saw brushes and paint cans in front of a paint-splattered canvas at a gallery in a Seoul shopping mall. So they added a few brush strokes, assuming it was a participatory mural.
Not quite: The painting was a finished work by an American artist whose abstract aesthetic riffs on street art. The piece is worth more than $400,000, according to the organizers of the exhibition that featured the painting.
Now it’s hard to tell where the artist’s work ends and the vandalism begins. “Graffitied graffiti,” a local newspaper headline said last week.
Either way, the piece, “Untitled,” by John Andrew Perello, the graffiti artist known as JonOne, is now a magnet for selfies. And on social media, South Koreans are debating what the vandalism illustrates about art, authorship and authenticity.