20-Year-Old Sentenced to Prison for Punching Picasso Painting at Tate Modern

A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after punching a valuable painting by Pablo Picasso at Tate Modern in London last December. The culprit is Shakeel Massey, a Spanish architecture student, who wielded metal padlocks to shatter the glass protecting the 1944 painting by Picasso titled Bust of a Woman. Massey had managed to not only break through the glass, but ripped the canvas and tore the painting off the wall.

According to the Evening Standard, Massey told the guards who detained him that the act was a “performance.” He also kept a handwritten note in his pocket outlining the amount of jail time he expected for damaging the painting as well as his personal finances. Not to mention, the letter referenced the 2012 incident at Tate when Polish artist Vladimir Umanets defaced a Mark Rothko painting as an “artistic statement.”

“He did what he did foolishly for five minutes of fame,” the lawyer representing Massey said in London’s Inner City Crown court. “He was an immature artist making a point of who knows what. It’s really unjustifiable.”

The museum estimates that the Picasso painting featuring his muse Dora Maar is worth $26 million USD. The work is currently owned by a private collector who loaned the piece to Tate since 2011, as per the BBC. Restoration for the work would take about 18 months to complete with repair costs over $450,000 USD.

In other art news, over 100 Black Lives Matter protest banners are on display a the Turner Contemporary gallery in the United Kingdom.
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