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It's hard to say who's stupider--a woman accused of damaging a $30 million dollar painting by rubbing her butt across it, or the museum that allowed her into the Denver facility. If a picture's worth 1,000 words, this one's worth a novel.
At age 36, one woman's just garnered herself a quick $10,000 debt. Carmen Tisch is accused of damaging artwork through the most peculiar of methods including punching and scratching. But perhaps the strangest part is the allegation that she yanked down her pants and slid her butt across the Clyfford Still painting valued between $30 to 40 million.
He may not previously have been quite as well known as Jackson Pollock, but the artist who falls into the ranks of one of the most influential American post-World War II abstract expressionist artists is currently the talk of the town. Pollock can never say one of his pieces actually sparked someone to rub their butt across his work.
And it's not the first occasion in recent times that Colorado's brand-spanking-new Clyfford Still Museum has already been in headlines. Four of Still's works were recently auctioned off, to the tune of $114 million, to fund the museum's opening and existence -- and that event alone had the artist's fans in a tizzy. Known to be a private guy, aka a recluse, many of Still's pieces have remained unseen or virtually unknown to the general public. One of those recently-auctioned paintings by Sotheby's broke previous records with Still's "1949-A-No. 1" fetching $61.7 million at auction in November, in an event that had Occupy Wall Street backers screaming foul.
January headlines involve Still's piece dubbed "1957-J No. 2", a painting irreplaceable for more than one reason. Still has been deceased for over 30 years, having passed away in 1980. It's going to cost about ten grand to fix the problem that went down at Denver's new Clyfford Still museum in January. But that's the least of problems for 36-year-old Tisch, who's held on twenty grand bond related to felony charges.
If anyone wonders how a painting becomes subject of physical abuse, that part's kind of unclear -- but becomes slightly more explainable through the idea it probably involves alcohol, or too much of it. People do strange things when they're drunk. Others do really strange things when they're drunk.
It seems Tisch wasn't so fond of the piece that was attacked in multiple ways. It's usually drunk men that pee in wrong places, but Tisch allegedly followed up the ass-rubbing-on-artwork by peeing -- on the floor. Fortunately for her, women don't possess the same ability in aim that blesses men. And that's a good thing. Because she didn't urinate on the actual painting, at least she skipped out on a charge or two.
Tisch is supremely lucky she didn't happen to be carrying a switchblade, to garner a debt more in the range of 30 mil than ten grand. The Denver art gallery believes the artist's "1957-J No. 2" can probably be restored since -- while pretty much everything else possible under the sun happened to it -- the actual canvas itself hasn't been pierced. Nevertheless, gallery owner Ivar Zeile claims the artwork has been further damaged outside of its physical attack. Non-living things, too, have a reputation. And he apparently believes the scene at the Denver gallery could be damaging for the piece.
It's a claim that may increase any insurance payout. But it may be just as arguable that the bizarre scenario could instead boost the artwork's value. After all, it's become quite the conversation piece. And it may continue to keep people talking. Few pieces of art are capable of evoking emotion for physical attack. And it's the attack that will continue to have people wondering. While art gallery owner Zeile says "You have to wonder where her friends were," others may wonder where exactly security may have been. But, still, it could've been worse. Mayhem, and accidents, do happen. It's not the most expensive damage that's occurred within museum walls: It was only months ago that a million dollar "puddle" was scrubbed from Kippenberger's artwork by an overzealous cleaning woman.