This Is the Painting a German Museum Worker Snuck Into a Show

Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne made the news last week after it was revealed that an employee hung his own painting on one of the gallery walls after hours in February, resulting in his termination as a technician at the German museum. Though the 51-year-old artist remains nameless to the public, a photo of the artwork in question was published in the Guardian last weekend, along with additional details surrounding his motive for adding his work to a now-closed exhibition.

The artwork itself is an approximately 23-by-47-inch digital print depicting various figures whose bodies were painted over with white wall paint, leaving only their clothing visible.

A spokesperson for the Pinakothek told various news outlets that it was a minor incident and declined to comment on the work to dissuade any “copycat pranksters.” The museum did not respond to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

However, in the Guardian’s latest report, a museum insider who remained anonymous explained that the artist deliberately installed the painting in a group exhibition that ran through March 17 titled Glitch: The Art of Interference, featuring works by 50 artists including Joan Jonas, Sondra Perry, and Nam June Paik, to “question norms and entrenched thought patterns, to confront us with innovative alternative ideas and, ultimately, render the invisible visible.”

The source also told the Guardian that the technician’s painting was a critical intervention to provoke a conversation about elitism in the art world by making the “invisible” labor behind the exhibition “visible” — perhaps reflected in the erasure of the figures’ bodies and evocation of who gets to be seen and remembered in the arts.

Though the criminal complaint against the artist has since been rescinded as of March, he has been issued a three-year ban from all Bavarian State Painting Collections galleries.


Rhea Nayyar (she/her) is a New York-based teaching artist who is passionate about elevating minority perspectives within the academic and editorial spheres of the art world. Rhea received her BFA in Visual…
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