Vodka-Fuelled Vandal Mauls ‘Ivan the Terrible’ Painting in Moscow; Blames ‘Historical Falsehoods’

Elsewhere: MoMaCha cafe says MoMA is not ‘truly famous’; selfie-fanatics create chaos at Kusama show, the latest in art world madness

Ilya Repin, Ivan the Terrible and His Son, 1885. Courtesy: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Ilya Repin, Ivan the Terrible and His Son, 1885. Courtesy: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Ilya Repin, Ivan the Terrible and His Son, 1885. Courtesy: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

A 37-year-old man has gone on a vodka-crazed rampage at Moscow’s celebrated Tretyakov Gallery, attacking Ilya Repin’s famous painting Ivan the Terrible and His Son (1885) with a metal security pole. The artwork features the 16th-century Russian tsar cradling his son after killing him in a moment of rage. Apparently taking inspiration from the murderous Ivan, the vandal managed to shatter the artwork’s glass case, slashing the canvas in several places. ‘I dropped into the buffet and drank 100 grams of vodka,’ the suspect explained. ‘I became overwhelmed by something.’ Ivan the Terrible has recently become the subject of patriotic revisionism, with nationalists claiming that the tsar’s cruel image was the creation of a foreign smear operation. And according to local reports, the suspect says he acted because of the ‘falsehood of the historical facts depicted on the canvas’. For now, the Tretyakov Gallery is reconsidering the sale of alcohol on its premises.

The very unbecoming spat between New York’s art powerhouse MoMA and MoMaCha, a green tea cafe, rolls on. The dispute emerged earlier this year when the art museum raised concerns about the cafe’s name and logo, which it regarded as too similar to its own – resulting in MoMA filing a lawsuit against MoMaCha. Now the little cafe is putting up a fight, claiming that its name is actually an abbreviation of the words ‘more’ and ‘matcha’. To add insult to injury, the cafe’s lawyers claimed that MoMA could not say that its nickname and branding were ‘truly famous’. They wrote: ‘The MoMA’s marks are nothing more than four letters written in black and white, the colours ordinarily used to convey written words, in a font that is nearly identical to the widely available and commonly used Franklin Gothic font.’

In an utterly unsurprising development, selfie-obsessed Yayoi Kusama fans are sending employees at Indonesia’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara up the wall. With the opening of ‘Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow’, museum staffers have taken to criticizing visitors publicly on Instagram after they discovered that polka dots on the artist’s works had been rubbed away, visitors were posing on the pieces, and others had been pushed off their pedestals. ‘Some people simply can’t follow the rules’ museum worker Amanda Aulia grumbled.

In the Name of Art is our semi-regular compendium of (almost) unbelievable art world stories. Send your worst to

Most Read

60 years after the celebrated Brutalist architect fell foul of local authorities, a Berlin Unité d’Habitation apartment...

The central thrust of the exhibition positions Sicily as the fulcrum of geopolitical conflicts over migration, trade,...
The Carters’s museum takeover powers through art history’s greatest hits – with a serious message about how the canon...
The 20-metre-high Mastaba finally realizes the artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s design
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
A tender new film about the fashion icon and troubled genius whose creative vision ‘started the 21st century’
A survey of 1,016 visual artists across the world finds that the badges of professional success don’t necessarily...
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The museum director, who resigned last year, acted with ‘integrity’, an independent report finds
With the government’s push for the controversial English baccalaureate, why the arts should be an integral part of the...
From Bruce Nauman at the Schaulager to the story of a 1970s artist community in Carona at Weiss Falk, all the shows to...
Sotheby’s and Christie’s say they are dropping the practice of using female-only staff to pose for promotional...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018