Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. Become a Member »

Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications’s headless Ronald McDonald statue (photo by @mattystruck/Instragram)

Crimes of the Art is a weekly survey of artless criminals’ cultural misdeeds. Crimes are rated on a highly subjective scale from one “Scream” emoji — the equivalent of a vandal tagging the exterior of a local history museum in a remote part of the US — to five “Scream” emojis — the equivalent of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

Museum’s McDonald’s Statue Served a Chicken McNubNeck

Ronald McDonald is not a name one typically associates with sudden and drastic weight loss, but a sculpture of the famous fast food spokesclown that sits outside the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago shed several pounds in a split second last night when its head was lopped off.

Verdict: I don’t want to point fingers, but Chicago police would do well to track down the Hamburglar.

Russians Rampage at Sculpture Show

Several plaster and linoleum sculptures by Vadim Sidur, “the Soviet Henry Moore,” were destroyed by radical members of the Russian Orthodox Church who attacked an exhibition of the late artist’s work at the Manege Museum and Exhibition Association in Moscow.

Verdict: These modernism-hating Russians evidently don’t know their art history — anybody whose work has been likened to that of Henry Moore is clearly a member of the orthodoxy.

Roman Altar Permanently Altered

A Roman altar made of red sandstone that was discovered in Maryport, UK, in 1880, was stolen from the local Senhouse Roman Museum after it was wrenched from its display podium during public opening hours last Thursday. The altar was one of 17 dedicated to the Roman god Jupiter that were discovered and excavated in Maryport during the second half of the 19th century.

Verdict: Foolish thieves, they have brought the curse of Jupiter upon their homes!

Florida Dealer Kept the Cash

Arij Gasiunasen, the former owner of the same-named art gallery in Palm Beach, Florida, is being sued by Joanne Pearson, a board member of the Norton Museum of Art, who claims she is still owed $55,000 for a Sophie Ryder sculpture she consigned to the gallerist to sell in 2013.

Verdict: If Twitter has taught me anything it’s that Florida men are not to be trusted.

Art Student Fails at Theft

Marquise Crudup, a student of the Art Institute of Tennessee in Nashville, was arrested in connection with the June theft of some $6,000 worth of cameras and other equipment from the art school. At the time of the robbery, Crudup used a baseball cap to cover a security camera in the room where the equipment was stored, then removed it as he left, revealing his face to the camera.

Verdict: When Picasso said “good artists copy, great artists steal,” this probably wasn’t the type of stealing he had in mind.

The Latest


Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...