A couple accidentally painted JonOne’s artwork in Seoul

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A young couple vandalized the artwork by American graffiti artist JonOne in South Korea, saying they mistakenly thought they were allowed to paint it because of the brushes in front of the piece on Friday.

The 240cm x 700cm untitled artwork is valued at up to $ 500,000 and was painted by JonOne in 2016 in front of an audience at Lotte World Mall in Seoul.

Paint and brushes from the live performance have been laid on the floor in front of the board ever since and have been considered part of the artwork.

According to exhibition staff, CCTV cameras captured a young man and woman picking up, sprinkling, and rubbing some paint on the artwork on Sunday.


Signs by a young couple cover graffiti artwork by New York-based artist John Wan at an exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, April 2, 2021 (REUTERS Photo)
Signs by a young couple cover graffiti artwork by New York-based artist John Wan at an exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, April 2, 2021 (REUTERS Photo)

Police reviewed CCTV footage before the couple was arrested at the mall. Exhibition head Kang Wook said they were later released, adding that the accusations are unlikely, because it appears to be a real mistake.

“They thought they were allowed to do this as a participatory art, and they made a mistake,” he said. “We are currently in discussions with the artist about whether to get it back.”

After the accident, the gallery installed wire fencing and additional signs that read “Don’t Touch.”

Some visitors were seen taking pictures of the damaged graffiti artwork on Friday, and Kang said an increasing number of people asked about the exhibition after the accident.

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