Uriel Landeros, a self-identified "up-and coming Mexican American artist" was looking to honor the work of Pablo Picasso. So, what did he do? He tagged an original Picasso, uploaded a video of the act on YouTube and then liked it on Facebook. In the words of his Facebook friend Natalie Marie Vickio: "What is wrong with you?"
The act of vandalism occurred at Houston's Menil Collection in broad daylight, when Landeros spray painted an image of a matador slaying a bull alongside the word "Conquista" on Picasso's 1929 "Woman in a Red Armchair." The whole thing was captured on tape by a witness (and possible accomplice) who closes in on the tag before eloquently asking "what the f***?" The amateur filmmaker later identified Landeros as the culprit to Local 2, as well as calling the defacing "pretty cool." The painting was immediately removed from the wall post-tag, the paint still wet. All spray paint has since been removed and the piece is set to return to the its home on the collection wall next week.
Was this a brave act of artistic intervention or an arrogant attack on priceless art? We thought Menil Collection spokesperson Vance Muse was surprisingly open to considering Landeros' tag as a possible artistic endeavor. He told KCRW: "We certainly live in a time where, you know, art is appropriated. You know that sort of thing, but there are clearly limits to that." Although eventually he dubbed the act as one of vandalism, he doesn't jump to the conclusion as quickly as, well, we did.
But Muse was far from the most understanding when it came to Landeros' supporters. Hyperallergic even went so far as to suggest Picasso himself may have "embraced" the action, reading from the alleged stint in which he painted over a Modigliani piece. It's possible... but honestly we think this guy is just a jerk.
What do you say, readers? Did Landeros 'conquer' Picasso or should he be conquered by law enforcement? Let us know your thoughts!