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Employee secretly hangs his painting in a museum hoping for an 'artistic breakthrough'

Every painter dreams of getting their work hung and admired in a museum but this employee took a shortcut to success.

Employee secretly hangs his painting in a museum hoping for an 'artistic breakthrough'
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Dian Gan, The Guardian

Every artist dreams of seeing their work displayed in a museum. Painters dedicate years to their art in hopes of earning a spot in a museum. However, one man took a shortcut, using just two screws to hang his work in a German museum, reports Smithsonian Magazine. The incident happened on February 26, 2024. A technician brought one of his paintings into Munich's Pinakothek der Moderne and put it on a gallery wall.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Riccardo
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Riccardo

The 51-year-old staff member was fired after his artwork hung for a day alongside pieces by pop art pioneer Warhol. A spokesperson for the museum told The Guardian that the man thought of himself as an artist and his daytime job in the museum's installation team was to support his "true calling."


The person saw the whole thing as his "artistic breakthrough," according to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. Unfortunately, this stunt could lead to prison time. His museum job gave him after-hours access to the gallery, which is why security overlooked him as he mounted a 60cm by 120cm painting on an empty white wall in the eastern wing. The spokesperson said the painting was hung in the early hours of February 26 and was noticed by the staff soon after it was opened. However, it was decided not to remove it until the museum was closed at 6 pm.


The museum refused to give information about the painting's subject or style as that would "encourage copycat pranksters." "All I can say is that we did not receive any positive feedback on the addition from visitors to the gallery," the spokesperson said. This incident also caught the police's attention, as they told CNN that the man was under investigation for property damage. It was seen as a crime and can lead to a fine or prison sentence of two years if he is convicted. "We have of course initiated criminal charges. This means that the public prosecutor's office will now decide what happens," Christian Drexler, chief superintendent of the Munich Police. "But it's up to the judiciary to decide in each case."

The painting was said to be attached using two screws and the total damage is about €100 ($107), the police said. It has been removed and confiscated. As soon as the museum workers found the painting, the person emailed the museum, stating that he was the one who hung it on the wall. The email read, "As a freelance artist, he has now hung his picture [on the wall]," Drexler said.


Several weeks ago, a similar incident was reported at the Bundeskunthalle in Bonn, Germany, where a student hung one of her paintings using double-sided tape, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung. The staff found out about it only after the exhibition finished and there was an extra painting left. The museum took it lightly and wrote on X, "We think it's funny & would like to get to know the artist. So get in touch! There will be no trouble. Word of honor."


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