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Art Critic Pushes Back After Her Soda Can Destroys $19K Art

Glass sculpture shatters at Mexico City art fair; Avelina Lesper says it was an accident
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2020 11:26 AM CST
Updated Feb 15, 2020 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – You don't want to be "that guy" (or gal) when you're at an art fair—you know, the one who causes a $19,000 glass sculpture to shatter into a zillion pieces when you place your soda can on or near it. Unfortunately for Avelina Lesper, she became that person over the weekend at Mexico City's famous Zona Maco event, destroying a piece of art by Gabriel Rico, who is described by Artnet News as "one of the country's up-and-coming artists." Lesper, an art critic, was leading a tour Saturday through the Galeria OMR stand at the fair when she reportedly set her Coke can on one of the stone tiles next to the sculpture so she could take a picture of the piece by Rico. That's when the 2018 sculpture—a sheet of glass with a tennis ball, soccer ball, stone, and other "found" items suspended inside of it—turned into a pile of glass shards.

"We are very sad and disappointed," Galeria OMR said in a statement, adding: "We don't understand how an alleged professional art critic destroyed a work." Rico called it a "regrettable situation" that was "very disrespectful." Lesper, said by Artnews to be a known "provocateur," says that she didn't put the soda can on the sculpture itself but next to it, that the can was empty, and that she didn't destroy the piece on purpose. "It was like the work heard my comment and felt what I thought of it," she said, per the Guardian. "The work shattered into pieces and collapsed and fell on the floor." Lesper says she suggested the gallery take advantage of the situation and display the glass shards to show the "evolution" of the piece; the gallery declined. Lesper says she offered to repair the sculpture, but it's still not clear what route Rico and the gallery will take. (Read more sculpture stories.)

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