Rachelle Lee Smith, multiple works / marker
In March 2015, a series of works on view in Smith’s exhibition “Speaking OUT” were vandalized while on view at the University of Connecticut’s student union art gallery. Unidentified parties broke into the gallery after hours and used black markers to deface multiple framed photographs, which featured portraits and personal statements from members of the LGBTQ community.
“There [was] a binder [left in the exhibit] that says ‘God hates the gays,’ two prints have penises on them and I was given a mustache,” said Smith. “If the prints themseleves get damaged, it’s a big deal. They are one-of-a-kind, handprinted in an almost obsolete darkroom machine. And each image comes with a handwritten message by the subjects, some up to 13 years ago.”
From appearances, the perpetrators did not damage the prints themselves, merely their frames and glass casing. New frames were purchased to replace those damaged in the incident; the assailants remain unidentified.