Man fired after sneaking own painting into museum

A 51-year-old German exhibition technician has found himself in hot water after smuggling his own painting into the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, per
The self-proclaimed “freelance artist” seized a moment of opportunity on February 26, utilising his access to the museum outside of regular hours to mount his creation in one of the galleries undetected.

However, his moment of triumph was short-lived. Museum security swiftly intervened, removing the unauthorised artwork and leading to the technician’s termination from his job. Tine Nehler, the museum’s press spokesperson, confirmed the incident and the subsequent dismissal, explaining that the employee’s actions were in violation of museum policy.

General view of the installation from artist Victor Ehikhamenor at the Pinakothek der Moderne on May 21, 2021 in Munich, Germany. Image: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images via CNN Newsource

The painting, measuring 60 centimetres by 1.2 metres, remained on display for an unknown duration before its discovery. Nehler asserted that museum supervisors promptly identify such unauthorised additions, underscoring the ephemeral nature of the technician’s illicit exhibition.

The repercussions of his actions extend beyond mere dismissal, as the Munich police have initiated an investigation into potential property damage. Chief Superintendent Christian Drexler revealed that the technician could face criminal charges, with possible penalties including fines or a prison sentence of up to two years.
The painting, affixed to the exhibition wall with screws, incurred damage necessitating further investigation by law enforcement. Drexler estimated the total damage at approximately €100. Despite the mounting legal implications, the technician took responsibility for his actions, confessing via email to museum authorities before being reported to the police.
This incident echoes a similar occurrence at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, where a student surreptitiously installed her own painting using double-sided tape. However, unlike the stringent response in Munich, the Bonn museum responded with humour, extending an invitation to the unidentified artist via social media.
While the technician’s ambition to showcase his artwork may have been realised momentarily, the consequences of his actions serve as a cautionary tale against unauthorised displays in cultural institutions.

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