I reported last June about a man who inexplicably vandalized a painting by Pablo Picasso at a museum in Houston. Another visitor used a cell phone to capture video of the man later identified as 22-year-old Uriel Landeros. He spray-painted an image of a bullfighter and the word “conquista” (conquered) over Picasso’s 1929 “Woman in Red,” before fleeing.
Landeros turned himself in to authorities at the international bridge near McAllen, Texas last week and now has confessed to the crime. He is charged him with criminal mischief and felony graffiti. His attorney, Emily Detoto, admits that his confession will make it difficult to defend him. She added that Landeros is an accomplished graffiti artist, which I’m sure doesn’t make museum officials feel any better about the desecration to the painting. It was part of the Menil Collection and is valued at several million dollars.
Normally people who use their cell phones in a museum or any venue are too preoccupied with their devices to notice anything else. But, a visitor to a Houston museum caught a man vandalizing a painting by Pablo Picasso on June 13. The man has yet to be identified, but he managed to stencil over Picasso’s 1929 “Woman in Red,” before escaping. Museum officials immediately rushed the painting to their onsite conservation lab. Their quick response ensures the likelihood the artwork will be saved.
A 24-second video has appeared on YouTube. Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said investigators are reviewing both surveillance video from the museum and the video posted on YouTube. When asked if police think the vandal and witness were working together, she said, “We’re taking all the information and we’re looking at all aspects of the incident.” She would not say whether police have spoken to the witness who shot the video.
This is not the first time one of Picasso’s works has been vandalized. In 1999, an escaped mental patient in Amsterdam cut a hole in the middle of his “Woman Nude Before Garden,” a 1956 painting.