A $1.1 million art installation in Germany’s Ostwall Museum was damaged by a cleaning woman who mistook a hand-painted patina for dirt and scrubbed it away. Artist Martin Kippenberger's “When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling” was comprised of a wooden structure and a rubber trough painted to look as though it had once contained a puddle of dirty rainwater.
The artwork fell victim to an expensive mistake when a woman from the cleaning agency, whose employees had been instructed to stay at least eight inches away from the art at all times, “cleaned” the installation. According to the Associated Press, it remains on view while insurance adjusters assess the damage, and the owner of the work decides whether it should be restored.
Kippenberger, a German artist known for working in a variety of styles, died in 1997. He was the leader of a group of German “bad boy” artists that at emerged in the wake of Neo-Expressionism, and made as much trouble as he did art, appropriating other artists’ work and once buying a gas station in Brazil and naming it after himself.
Thanks to his troublemaking persona, some have suggested that he would have liked the way that the cleaning woman “completed” his sculpture.
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