Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Chinese boys Smash Glass Sculptures, Lego Sculptures, And Other Artwork

As more kids visit museums, Damage to Artwork Rises


Smashed lego sculpture. From the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo

What is it with Chinese boys, anyway?

A $15,000 Lego sculpture of a "Zootopia" character stood for about an hour Sunday at the Lego Expo in China before a little boy smashed it into it's constituent plastic blocks, CCTV reports. The artist took 3 days to complete the sculpture of character Nick Wilde, a fox from a hard-luck background in Zootopia. It cost a little over $15,000, said Chinese TV, and had just been put on display.

Meanwhile, a boy in Beijing went to a museum and put his fist through an Italian painting valued at $2,000,000. The incident, which happened in Taiwan, happened in August when the boy turned around suddenly and fell into the painting. The boy looked around helplessly, and then walked away

The organizers of the Taiwan exhibit decided not to seek monetary compensation from the kids family. The lego sculptor, a man named Zhao, refused an offer of compensation from the parents of the boy who broke his sculpture, and accepted their apology. After all, he gets paid to put these things together, and besides, "The child did not intend to break it," he said.

But wait, there's more. In May, a sculpture called "Angel Is Waiting," by the Chinese artist Shelly Xue, was destroyed by two young boys who were visiting the Shanghai Museum of Glass. The sculpture, which took 27 months to create, had traveled around the world before its destruction, and was created to honor Xue's newborn daughter.

From the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo. The artist Zhao put this up.

Older white males have, of course, also proven capable of damaging artwork. In 2006, a British man smashed a set of 300-year-old Chinese vases after tripping over his shoelaces at a museum in Cambridge.

And then, there's Steve Wynn. The billionaire founder of Wynn Hotels, which has opened a large gambling resort in Macau last year, had just finalized the sale of a $139 million painting, called "Le Reve" (The Dream), when he accidentally punched a finger-sized hole in the artwork while showing it to friends at his Las Vegas office. Oy gevalt!

I suppose the lesson to this story is, accidents happen and damage is inevitable. Paintings can be patched, lego sculptures rebuilt, and life goes on in any case.


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