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Art Student ‘Projects’ His Opinions

Sun., Dec. 1, 1996, midnight

A Canadian art student says he can’t stomach some of the art world’s masterpieces. So, he is on a mission to publicly vomit on at least three of the paintings - each time in a primary color.

Jubal Brown of Ontario College of Art and Design fortified himself with blue gelatin and cake icing on Nov. 2 before throwing up on “Composition in Red, White and Blue” by Piet Mondrian at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

He spewed red on Raoul Dufy’s “Harbour at le Havre” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in May.

He said he plans to gush yellow on an as-yet unannounced target.

The 22-year-old student said in an interview that the paintings are “stale, obedient, lifeless crusts.” His intention: “To destroy art, to liberate individuals and living creatures from its banal, oppressive representation.”

He claims he needed no inducement to heave on the Dutch master’s work in New York, which he called a typically geometric canvas.

“I found its lifelessness threatening and it made me sick.”

Neither of the paintings defiled so far has suffered permanent damage and Brown has not been arrested.

Shortly after the New York attack, museum spokesman John Wolfe was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “It was an unfortunate incident, a fluke.”

Glenn Lowry, director of the New York museum, has been in touch with the Ontario museum since then and the two museums have begun an investigation, the (Toronto) Globe and Mail reported Saturday.

The Ontario museum said in a statement Friday that it had only just realized the Dufy attack was a deliberate act, and that it is now considering legal action against Brown. The museum had no further comment.

No one could be immediately reached at the New York museum.

Brown said a group of 15 friends accompanied him on his Ontario mission, but that the New York incident was witnessed mostly by startled gallery patrons.

Brown said he was interrogated by museum officials and New York police after the Mondrian attack, and that he had explained his project.


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