Ei Arakawa, Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster, 2017 / thieves

In June 2017, this outdoor installation was damaged while on view as part of Skulptur Projekte Münster. The LED-based piece displayed animated versions of paintings by the likes of Joan Mitchell and Amy Sillman; overnight on June 17, one of the pieces, based on a work by Jutta Koether, went missing. “On Saturday night, June 17th, someone—at least two people—came with an electric screwdriver in order to remove a plexiglass cover and steal an LED painting,” Arakawa said in an email. “The work is 2 m x 2.5 m, so it is not something you can take away easily. We don’t know why they did it.”

“This is a really interesting ‘performance’ in a way, revealing how vulnerable art in public space can be, and how public space can be violent,” he concluded.

The piece was replaced in July. The culprits were not identified.

Christopher Schreck