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Minnesota graffiti artist protects Titian's Venus from the northern cold

February 21, 2011 |  3:14 pm

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts picked Titian’s “Venus Rising from the Sea” as its outdoor poster girl for the traveling show, which opened Feb. 6 in the Twin Cities.

For those of us whose knowledge of Minnesota consists largely of what we’ve heard from Garrison Keillor, it only makes sense that at least one graffiti artist in the North Star state turns out to be … considerate.

Above is the original billboard. Click below to see what was done with a can of spray paint.


Advocates of graffiti art call its practitioners daring individualists; critics call them vandals. Witty, too, as these images of untouched and embellished billboards advertising the Minneapolis stop of the touring “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting” exhibition attest.

A publicist for the traveling exhibition of paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland (next stop:  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) gave Culture Monster the heads-up on this unauthorized adornment of Venus, following our recent report lamenting that the show won’t be coming to the West Coast. 

The goddess, a native of sunny Mediterranean climes, reportedly endured two weeks of full exposure to the upper-Midwestern winter before pity was taken; the museum staff, we’re told, “is highly amused.”


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Chaka's graffiti art catches fans' eyes at gallery, ignites readers' tempers here

Graffiti and street art show to take over MOCA's Geffen Contemporary in 2011

-- Mike Boehm

Photos: Billboards for Titian exhibition at Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Credit: Resnicow Schroeder Associates.


Comments () | Archives (23)

if it was a mexican .... he or she would be called a vandal

If it was done on someone's private property without permission, it IS vandalism.
NOT Art.

Can we stop perpetuating this myth that committing a crime is okay because the criminal relabels his defacement as "art"?

He or she is called a vandal no matter what race he is. Just an amusing vandal

Dee gee is probably right.

no, it would say burrrro!

But, HonestRob, it is Art, to create something that communicates so much about contemporary American society while being funny.

whatever dee gee. he would be called a vandal because that is what he would be! if he was black, green, white or yellow that definition would still apply. either way this guy or gal is a witty vandal with a GREAT sense of humor!


It's not funny. It's not original. It's not inventive. It's not creative. It's not art. It's simply doodling.

I've seen the same joke countless times in different variants by editorial cartoonists and sophomoric art students.

Just because a person has a Sharpie pen or a spray can of paint and decides to inflict their juvenile humor on others does not make them an "artist."

That's awesome... hehe I need to find this billboard...

Poor thing was freezing!

Actually a missed opportunity.

A red snorkle coat, perhaps a scarf and toque, would have just *killed* me.

Don't condemn the graffitist. It's a welcome bit of humor for those of us who have been enduring what seems like an endless winter.

This outdoor board was on highway 12 in Long Lake, MN. Unfortunately it has been replaced by a new board with our poor goddess exposed to the Minnesota winter once again.
Wow! Long Lake made the Los Angeles Times?

Where's Banksy, now that we need him?

As expressionist French painter Jean Dubuffet used to say
"Art must make you laugh a little and make you a little afraid. Anything as long as it doesn't bore"

I'd have to say that while it may be funny, it's not art, lol, no way shape or form!
I also don't think people realize how much those signs cost. Really, the punk who did it has zero regard for property and for those who had to pay for the billboard. They should have to pay for it to be replaced.

Oh come on, Len (and others)! This graffiti has no doubt brought the exhibition a great deal more attention (and attendance) than had the billboard remained untouched. I'm not saying that every billboard should be graffiti-doused, but hey, there's good graffiti (and art) and bad graffiti (and art).

Charles, who decides what's "good graffiti (and art) and bad graffiti (and art)"?

If someone had defaced a church billboard or done something funny to a pro-life billboard, you can bet heads would roll!

To some it may be funny (and art) to some it would make them sick.
Again, who gets to decide what's good graffiti?

Saying it's art and brought the advertiser more attention, is condoning an act of a vandalism.

Did it get more attention because it was done, or because it was written about in the news?

All I know is that when I drive down a highway and see graffiti on "any" billboards, it sickens me (I know what these signs cost to put up)

Maybe you'd be ok with someone spray painting something on your car?
And, what if a lot of people thought is was an awesome design? Would that make it ok?
What the heck, it could bring you a lot of attention anyway...

Len (and others): Hey, there are paintings by deservedly famous/respected artists hanging in museums that some people call good art, and others bad art. Who's to decide?

If any billboard graffiti 'sickens' you, hmm... methinks you might be in the billboard ad business... And you bettah b'leeve - there's a slew of folks out there who think superspiffo untouched billboards are sickening (not me).

But, as I clearly said - I'm NOT advocating that all billboards should be graffiti-doused (or even goosed). Sometimes it's in totally bad taste, but again, there are other situations...

Somebody spraying my car...?? Hmm... If, by chance, it turned out to be something rather creative, I could possibly live with it, especially if it brought me some (positive) attention.

Along similar lines - the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto recently opened a show of his in Paris by smashing a series of mirrors placed around the gallery (as part of the show). Rather interesting. But if someone smashes my car windows, no, bad bad taste.

Charles, nope I'm not in the billboard biz...I'm actually in education.

But, I am calling your bluff. If you drove an f250 nice 4x4 truck and came out and saw flowers painted on it, you'd be ticked. No mater how nice the design.
(Which, why even go there, this graffiti was crap to begin with)

The painting on this billboard was nothing, not art, but cheap crap, no imagination, and in no way creative (no more so then drawing sun glasses and blackening out teeth on a magazine cover girl) pffft! Not art, sorry bud!

You can try and spin it any which way you want, screwing with someones property is still wrong.

I seriously can't think of one reason you'd defend this act, other then you must like to spray paint on other people's property your self.

How the heck you can compare this to any "art" is beyond me.
Like I said, it was no more art then someone taking a black pen and blackening out the teeth of a cover girl on a fashion magazine.

The "additional" advert coverage? pfffft, yeah if they had been written up in the news "period", that would have been additional coverage.

The person who did this, is still a vandal and NOT creative, nor an artist at all.

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