CULTURE & ARTS
10/12/2012 08:00 am ET Updated Dec 12, 2012

Protecting Art From Hammers, Gum And Lipstick

How can museums show off their priceless art treasures while protecting them from growing incidents of vandalism? That debate was renewed this week after a man used black paint to scrawl on Mark Rothko's "Black on Maroon" painting at the Tate Modern in London.

Michelangelo's "David" was struck by a man wielding a hammer in 1991, breaking one of its toes.

A boy stuck chewing gum on Helen Frankenthaler's painting "The Bay" at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2006.

Diego Velazquez's 'The Rokeby Venus' was attacked by a woman with a meat cleaver in 1914.

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In 2007, a woman smeared red lipstick across an all-white painting by Cy Twombly.

The Rothko incident is just the latest in a long tradition of museum art vandalism. At the Clyfford Still Museum last December, a woman was caught urinating near a painting valued at over $30 million. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1996, Canadian artist Jubal Brown intentionally vomited blue-colored foods on a Piet Mondrian painting.

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