Yoko Ono “Part Painting–A Circle” (1994) / marker
In November 1997, this work was damaged while on view at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. Uncapping a red magic marker, 22-year-old Jake Platt painted a line across Ono’s work, comprised of a series of 24 canvases with a horizontal line drawn across their surfaces. He marked five panels before being stopped by security.
Platt, who considered himself a follower of the Fluxus movement and a big Ono fan, apparently believed that visitor intervention was encouraged. He later explained that he’d been inspired to add his own touch to “Part Painting” after interacting with another work by Ono called “Cleaning Piece” - a participatory installation where viewers could move around rocks and leave behind notes for future visitors. “No one said anything about me writing on the rocks, so I figured it would be OK to write on the painting,” Platt said. “So what I did was underline the black line with a red line, to sort of highlight it.”
He also pointed out that next to "Part Painting,” there was a posted quote from Ono reading, “No one can tell you not to touch the art.”
The works were restored; charges against Platt were eventually dropped.