An art critic has been slammed after she ‘accidentally’ destroyed a $20,000 glass installation which shattered when she ‘placed an empty soda can on it’ at Mexico’s premiere art fair.
Avelina Lesper’s show of disdain for the work involved placing the can on top of the piece and then attempting to photograph it at the Zona Maco art fair in Mexico City on Saturday, Global reported.
The work by Gabriel Rico, a sheet of glass with a stone, soccer ball and other random objects suspended inside, plunged to the ground shortly after.
Despite Lesper’s protestations of innocence, jokingly saying it was like the art had ‘felt what I thought of it,’ has not impressed the gallery who have condemned her for a ‘tremendous lack of respect.’
‘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 criticized 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.
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.