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Tag Archives: Carmen Tisch

Two of the topics I’ve covered here in the past are subjects of recent news items on the Huffington Post and elsewhere.

First comes at least a partial resolution in the case of the Clyfford Still Museum Ass-Rubbing Incident that I wrote about in early January.

Carmen Tisch has pleaded guilty to rubbing her bare ass all over Still’s  1957-J No 2 and then peeing on the floor next to it.

1957-J No. 2 (Clyfford Styll, 1957)

Anyone who, like me, was hoping that the act was a deep and introspective statement on Abstract Art and the Human Condition can now be officially disappointed. The chick was just drunk. Apparently really drunk. The latest report is that she copped a plea and was sentenced to two years of “mental health probation,” including treatment for alcoholism. Go figure.

On a more positive note, the napalmed Vietnamese girl immortalized in Nick Ut’s Pulitzer-winning photo from 1972 has turned up in yet another Huffpo story that tracks her life from that fateful day in 1972 through her defection to her happy and productive life in Canada. I discussed the Napalm Girl photo in this  post last September. I am still just as moved by that image and really glad that the girl in the photo, Kim Phuc, is doing well. Not many people came out of the Vietnam with anything positive.

Napalm Girl (Nick Ut/AP, 1972)

The first story reminds us that art breeds weirdness, which we all should know already. The second underscores the fact that, sometimes, a well constructed and well-used image really can alter the course of history. These are both important lessons the keep, for different reasons, at different times.

Art rarely makes the national news these days and when it does, it’s usually something pretty bizarre.

I guess yesterday’s brutal attack on an abstract expressionist painting in Denver falls squarely into  the “bizarre” column. According to news reports, a 30-year old Colorado woman accosted Clyfford Still’s 1957-J no. 2,  valued at some $30 million, by punching it, scratching it, and then dropping her pants and rubbing her butt on it. The anti-art terrorist, one Carmen Tisch, then peed all over the floor. Reports are mixed on the question of whether or not she peed on the painting itself.

1957-J no. 2 (Clyfford Still - 1957)

The incident occurred at the Clyfford Still Museum, solely dedicated to Still’s work. Still was a leading Abstract Expressionist and a pretty weird guy by some accounts. I can’t say I like his work much, but a lot of people hail him as a genius.

Some are criticizing the museum for what amounts to an embarrassing breach of security, but I think such criticism is unwarranted. I’ve been to a lot of museums and I could have peed on literally hundreds of paintings, just about any time I wanted to. I’m not sure how security personnel would screen for potential painting-pissers. Is there a pisser profile they could use? I’m sure this will be discussed a lot in the coming days.

My suspicion is that Tisch is probably crazy in some way. No matter how much one might detest Abstract Expressionism, rubbing your bare ass all over someone’s painting seems to be, at the very least, unconstructive. I’m dying to hear more about the perpetrator. I’m sure she has an interesting story of her own.

Mug Shot: Carmen Tisch - Painting Pisser

As for me, well, given the amount of press this incident has gotten, I would invite some crazy person to come around and rub their buttocks on one of my images, or even pee on it. Three pictures hang currently at the Pontiac Creative Arts Center, but I can’t say that they’d welcome the publicity as much as I would, so pursue those at your own peril.

The bulk of my visible work hangs in private residences and I could possibly make one of those available. They’re all mounted under glass , so a little Windex would take care of any damages anyway. An appointment will be required to allow for the press advisory to go out. Contact me at your convenience.