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Graffiti artist JonOne wants his damaged work restored

Blue brushstrokes were applied to “Untiled” by US graffiti artist JonOne while on exhibition at Lotte World Mall in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Blue brushstrokes were applied to “Untiled” by US graffiti artist JonOne while on exhibition at Lotte World Mall in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Artwork by a US graffiti artist that was damaged by two viewers is likely to be restored at the request of the artist, according to one of the organizers of the exhibition it was being shown at.

“We received a reply from the artist saying he wants the work to be restored. We will discuss whether to persuade the artist again,” Kang Wook, CEO of Contents Creator of Culture, the co-organizer of the exhibition told The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

The artwork “Untitled” by JonOne was mistakenly damaged by a young couple on March 28 at the exhibition “Street Noise” at Lotte World Mall in Seoul. The CCTV footage shows the couple applying brush strokes on the piece using a brush and paint cans which were on display as part of the exhibition.

The couple later said they never intended to damage the artwork and had mistakenly thought that it was a participatory work that invited viewers to paint. The restoration is estimated to cost about 10 million won ($8,900), according to the co-organizer.

“Because it is obvious who vandalized the piece, the couple is likely to be charged for the cost. But, if it is decided that the work will be restored after the exhibition ends, we will continue to discuss how to resolve the issue smoothly. The work has been installed several times in the past along with the paint cans and brushes that the artist used, but this is the first time it has been damaged.” Kang added.

“There are many stakeholders, including the artist, investors, exhibition organizers, the collector, as well as the young couple. It is a complicated issue.”

A yellow line on the ground around the work and a sign that explains the things he used to paint the piece in 2016 were set up along with the piece in efforts to protect the artwork, a public relations official of the exhibition told The Korea Herald.

“We are approaching the case cautiously because it can damage the image of exhibition organizers,” the PR official said.

A wide black rubber line about 3-centimeters from the ground was additionally installed after the incident.

The artwork is estimated to be worth about 500 million won.

Born in 1963, Graffiti artist John Andrew Perello, also known as JonOne, is based in New York. His works feature abstract expressionist-style graffiti with bright and bold colors.

The exhibition runs through June 13. The artist could not be reached for comment.

By Park Yuna (