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Guard Slashes Art Institute Painting

By Margaret Lyons in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 10, 2008 7:03PM

2008_6_10.nightsky2.jpgA (now ex-) guard at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh has been charged with slashing a painting on loan to the museum from our very own Art Institute. Art Institute restorers are trying to see if the painting is salvageable, but police say it's damaged beyond repair. Neither museum will comment on how much the painting is worth, but reports say Vija Celmins's "Night Sky #2" is worth around $1.2 million. Well, it was.

Timur Serebrykov's lawyer says his client "snapped," and according to the AP, "[c]ourt documents indicate Serebrykov used a key or other implement to damage the painting because he disliked it." Serebrykov's also says that the vandalism "was nothing personal."

Celmins says, "These kinds of things happen all over the world in various museums. People do these things. I have no idea why."

"Night Sky #2" is based off satellite imagery and taps into Celmins's penchant for depicting expanse. According to the Art Institute, "With jewellike imagery and a suggestion of vastness, Night Sky #2 is at once romantic and unsettling. Without the anchor of a horizon or a humanly scaled reference point, viewers may find it difficult to determine their relationship to the image. As a result, they may feel simultaneously engaged and distanced in the presence of this mesmerizing view." [Trib, Post-Gazette, Trib, AP]