Museum Fires Employee for Hanging His Own Painting in an Exhibition

Facade of the New Pinakothek, the modern art museum of Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Photo: EnginKorkmaz/Depositphotos

Many artists work very hard, hoping for their breakthrough moment when galleries and museums finally exhibit their work. Instead of waiting for that invitation, one creative took matters into his own hands. A staff member at a German museum drilled two holes in a wall and mounted his own painting with the hopes of kickstarting his career. Much to his dismay, he has promptly been fired from the museum.

This took place at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. The museum is home to one of the most important modern art collections in Europe, as it features the works of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, and Salvador Dalí among others. They also hold temporary exhibits celebrating the best in design and architecture.

The striving artist is a 51 year-old-man who was part of the museum's technical services team. He was helping install an exhibition in the architecture section when he snuck into the modern art floor to hang his own artwork while the museum was closed. “He was carrying tools, that’s why he went totally unnoticed,” said Tine Nehler, a museum spokeswoman, per The New York Times. “As a technician, he was able to move around all areas of the building outside of opening hours.”

The painting, measuring 23 x 47 inches, was hung in an empty passageway. While it’s not clear exactly how long it was hanging there, Nehler said it was promptly spotted by the supervisors. The piece was then returned to the man, who was fired and banned from visiting the museum again. Adding to his troubles, the local police were also investigating him for property damage due to the holes he drilled into the wall to place his artwork.

The man may have been inspired by a similar tale that took place months before in the city of Bonn, when a student smuggled and taped a painting at the Bundeskunsthalle. However, that tale had a much happier ending. Not only was the artwork only noticed towards the end of the exhibit, but the museum also found it hilarious. Once the artist's identity was revealed, they even helped them find a buyer for the piece. “We think it's funny and we want to get to know the artist. So get in touch! There's no trouble. Word of honor,” the gallery posted on Twitter.

Of course, this case in Munich has had a different outcome. It has led some in the art industry to question how much harm is done by these minor acts of rebellion and what the appropriate response is. In fact, many people took to social media to even request to see the man's artwork. Others have pointed out how this stunt would have earned praise, if it was done by someone like Banksy. The museum may have swiftly responded to it all, but the conversation is far from over for the industry as a whole.

A staff member at a German museum drilled two holes in a wall and mounted his own painting with the hopes of kickstarting his career.

Back of man looking at museum wall

Photo: anyaberkut/Depositphotos

Much to his dismay, he has promptly discovered and fired from the museum.

Close up of man painting on easel

Photo: AllaSerebrina/Depositphotos

h/t: [BBC]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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