Why Plexiglass is Used to Protect Art

A 22-year-old Houston artist named Uriel Landeros made news this past week after walking into Houston’s Menil Collection museum and vandalizing a priceless 1929 Picasso painting titled Woman in a Red Armchair. A fellow museum patron captured cell phone footage of Landeros spray painting the word “conquista” onto the painting using a stencil. The painting was rushed to the museum’s conservation lab for an emergency restoration, and Landeros was just arrested and charged with two third-degree felonies.

The defacing of priceless art pieces is nothing new, and museums often keep their most prized artworks behind plexiglass to protect them from renegade visitors. One example is the Mona Lisa, which has seen its share of vandalism attempts:

In 1956, the lower part of the painting was severely damaged when a vandal doused the painting with acid. On 30 December of that same year, a young Bolivian named Ugo Ungaza Villegas damaged the painting by throwing a rock at it. This resulted in the loss of a speck of pigment near the left elbow, which was later painted over.

The use of bulletproof glass has shielded the Mona Lisa from more recent attacks. In April 1974, a handicapped woman, upset by the museum’s policy for the disabled, sprayed red paint at the painting while it was on display at the Tokyo National Museum. On 2 August 2009, a Russian woman, distraught over being denied French citizenship, threw a terra cotta mug or teacup, purchased at the museum, at the painting in the Louvre; the vessel shattered against the glass enclosure. In both cases, the painting was undamaged.

Having a piece of glass protecting paintings and photographs definitely detracts from the viewing experience, but because of people like Landeros, it’s probably something that will become more and more common.

(via Doobybrain)

  • jptja

    Offtopic, yet relevant:

  • Mansgame

    This guy is not only a disgrace to artists, but also to all immigrants.  By all accounts he appears to be an American Citizen, but in the same week that the brought much joy to young immigrants with the new ruling, this self proclaimed “Young Mexican American” artist caused more damage to the cause and the good name of immigrants than any right wing AM radio talk show host could have done.

    I hope it was worth it for him.  This 20 second video clip will for ever keep him shunned from both the artist and immigrant community and will likely (hopefully) result him being in jail.   

  • Angus

    @Mansgame:disqus he is a disgrace to himself, but a long bow to drag immigration into it. Yiesh, that is like saying that Trailer Trash who drink drive are a disgrace to every white person in the country.  That’s just plain bonkers..

    I hope that clip does  give him some jail time though. 
    What a piss weak “statement” if that is what he was trying to achieve

  • rtfe

    vandal should be shot in the knee caps, dragged by a bull, impaled by four swords in the stomach, then spray painted in the eyes until he “gets it”.

  • Guest

    Interestingly, many ‘classic’ artworks are already protected by glass. Due to an anti-reflective coating, most people don’t realise that there is glass in front of the work of art. So it’s not all bad :)

  • 9inchnail

    Most “classic” artworks are replicas, the originals are safely stored in archives. Since tourists wouldn’t pay to see a copy of the Mona Lisa, they protect that replica with glass to make it look more valuable and important.

  • Hancock Walter

     just as Jeffrey explained I am alarmed that a mom able to profit $5474 in one month on the computer. have you seen this site makecash16cm

  • The Judge

     The last thing I think in regards to this video is “immigration”.  0/10

  • Nikolaus

    It is a hate crime against ‘white’ americans and should be treated as such. No different than a skinhead using a hakenkreuz (swastika) or using a KKK stencil. Israel-owned media will ram pc handling of the incident down your throat. Since when is this punk an ‘artist’? Of course this has EVERYTHING to do with (illegal) immigration, what is wrong with you people?

  • David Rychart


  • David Rychart

    He’s not an artist- I DESPISE when people use that term for lowlife scum who deface public and private property without permission, but this really has nothing to do with immigration, or racism, or anything. It’s about a jackass who ruined artwork just so he could get his name publicized. Clearly that’s what this was about.

  • WKYA_Radio

     You are nuts. Hate against white Americans…mwahahahha what a wackjob.

  • John Milleker

    Wrong aspect ratio, didn’t watch.