Don’t call it a smashing success. On Saturday at the Zona Maco art fair in Mexico City, art critic Avelina Lésper shattered a glass portion of a sculpture by Gabriel Rico. Some of the details surrounding the work’s breaking are unclear, though the damage has been done: photographs of the sculpture after Lésper visited the booth show shards all over the booth’s floor.
A representative for OMR, the Mexico City gallery that brought the work to the fair, told ARTnews that the shattering occurred after Lésper attempted to place a Coca-Cola can on Rico’s piece. The work is titled Nimble and sinister tricks (To be preserved with out scandal and corruption) I (2018), and it featured a tennis ball, a knife, and other assorted objects elegantly encased in a glass piece. It had been valued at $20,000.
In a statement, OMR said, “Although it seems to have been accidental and is irrelevant as to how it happened, the action of Ms. Lésper of getting too close to the work of art to put a can of soda on it and take a picture to make a criticism, had undoubtedly caused the destruction, and is above all, a huge lack of professionalism and respect.”
Shortly after news of the shattering went viral on social media, Lésper took accountability, saying in a video posted by Milenio, a Mexican outlet that has regularly published her writings, that the work had somehow responded to her own thoughts on it. “It was like the work heard my comment and felt what I thought of it,” she said.
Rico, whose tenuous assemblages of everyday objects recently appeared in the 2019 Venice Biennale, said in a statement sent to ARTnews, “I am sad because this was very disrespectful for the pieces. This is a regrettable situation.”
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