An architecture student who caused over £350,000 damage to a Picasso painting at Tate Modern has been jailed for eighteen months.
Gallery visitors ran for safety as Massey pulled the painting from the wall
Shakeel Ryan Massey, 20, punched a hole in a £20 million portrait of his muse Dora Maar in a bid for his “fifteen minutes of fame”. Massey prepared himself for the premeditative attack on the valuable artwork with metal padlocks and carefully wrapped his hands in scarves in order to smash through a layer of toughened glass protecting ‘Bust Of A Woman’ on 28 December last year.
Gallery visitors ran for safety as Massey pulled the painting from the wall of the gallery and threw in on to the floor. He told a security guard that he was creating an art “performance” before being detained and arrested.
The prosecutor told the court: “He dropped his coat on the floor and rushed towards the painting, punching the artwork and causing the protective glass to smash and ripping the painting in the middle.” “It is difficult to conclude anything other than this offence was committed for the purpose of notoriety.”
“Apart from the fact you are just 20, I have no evidence before me that you were particularly naïve or particularly immature. “There is nothing to suggest you were anything other than 20-year-old seeking fame.”
The lead Prosecutor, Ben Edwards told the court Massey entered the gallery just before 1 pm and spent around three minutes looking at the Picasso before launching the attack.
Picasso created Bust of a Woman in Paris in 1944. It is considered a good example of his work in a style that combines Cubism with surrealist overtones.
Sending him to prison and refusing to suspend the sentence, Judge Donne told Massey to reflect on the “pain” he has caused his family. “I have concluded without hesitation the impact upon the public, and the gravity of this offence, together with the need to deter others from this form of conduct requires the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence”, he said.
The gallery said the Picasso painting is now undergoing 18 months of restoration.