Masked Vandal Destroys Michael Asher Sculpture With Sledgehammer

Michael Asher Untitled (1991) Photo: The Stuart Collection via Hyperallergic

Michael Asher Untitled (1991)
Photo: The Stuart Collection via Hyperallergic

Following preliminary investigations, police in San Diego, CA, are on the lookout for a masked vandal who took a sledgehammer to a public artwork by the conceptual artist Michael Asher on the University of California’s campus on January 13, San Diego 6 reported.

The unidentified young man completely destroyed the granite sculpture of a drinking fountain, which is part of the university’s Stuart Collection. According to Detective Brian MacPherson of the San Diego Police Department, “the Stuart Collection fountain is priceless.” He added, “It’s a loss to the art community as a whole, and a loss of a little bit of history for UC San Diego.”

During his wrecking spree, the vandal also damaged the campus’s Chancellor Building and smashed a junction box on the roof to disable several security cameras. He also destroyed eight individual cameras. Detective Lucas Liu told San Diego 6 that the crime caused an estimated $18,000 in damages to the university’s surveillance system.

The perpetrator left a message to authorities, spraying “You can paint over me, you can catch me, you can expel me, I will still be here,” on a wall in gold paint. He also sprayed “private property” on the university’s Geisel Library.

The masked vandal wielding a sledgehammer Photo: Screen shot of news video via San Diego 6

The masked vandal wielding a sledgehammer
Photo: Screen shot of news video via San Diego 6

Police released images of the criminal, whom they described as thin, with a small mole below his left eye. He was wearing a grey hoodie, and dark trousers with a black baseball cap and black shoes. Police have linked the incident to four other acts of vandalism and are urging any witnesses to come forward.


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