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 digitaleditors@frieze.com

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