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Destruction of Artwork By “Hugging” 5-Year Old

So, who is to blame for this?

On one hand, life is full of things kids can get into that can destroy the “thing” or injure the child thus making it imperative that parents supervise their children. My mom’s questions, which I applied to my own children, were “Do you own it? Are you going to buy it? Then don’t touch what isn’t yours.” Respecting other people’s property should be a lesson taught and learned early.

On the other hand, art pieces that can be easily knocked over puts the responsibility on the museum to display the art in a way that minimizes the potential for accidents or museum guests getting a little too interactive with the art.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Annie June 19, 2018, 2:58 am

    This was at a neighborhood community center, not a museum. Blame can go all around here—certainly the parents for letting their kids wander unsupervised, but both the lending museum and community center itself bear some responsibility for not securing/protecting expensive art pieces in a place where children come daily for various activities—it seems to me something was bound to happen.

    • Queen of Putrescence June 19, 2018, 11:46 am

      I completely agree. Yes parents are responsible for keeping an eye on their children and making sure that they behave. But I also believe that this was not the appropriate location for an art piece that was worth that much. It should have been more properly secured if it was going to be in that location.

    • sillyme June 19, 2018, 11:59 am

      To that well-made point, I wonder what the insurance adjuster is going to make of that. Having worked in insurance, and known someone who worked extensively in claims, my instincts tell me that the claims adjuster will cite some obligation in the insurance coverage to make sure a piece of that value is secured. I agree that the blame and responsibility should be passed around to all parties like a plate of bitter-tasting pill-shaped canapes.

      • galatea June 19, 2018, 10:24 pm

        “a plate of bitter-tasting pill-shaped canapes”


        • sillyme June 20, 2018, 12:37 pm

          Thank you.

    • Jomo June 20, 2018, 3:53 am

      We’re not being tasked with validating the work based on who created it or where it is displayed. This could be the next great work or future thrift store clutter.

    • Mechtilde June 24, 2018, 8:31 am

      I used to work in a museum- that statue was not properly secured. No child that age and size should be able to pull something like that over. I used to have to pull on things to make sure I couldn’t get them loose as part of daily safety checks.

      Yes, the parents should have been supervising, but that statue was downright dangerous.

      • Avalon Angel June 27, 2018, 4:48 pm

        I agree. There’s blame all around.

        I have two kids with Tourette’s Syndrome. They can have sudden, unexpected, and often violently powerful physical tics. They have no control over them. The medication they take helps with the number of tics (along with various forms of therapy), but doesn’t eliminate them.

        A few years ago, we took our kids to see the King Tut exhibition as it came through Seattle. A surprising number of items could be physically touched. I watched my kids like a hawk, gently but firmly steering them away from those particular items and towards those ensconced with plexiglass and other security measures. As a result, I didn’t really get to enjoy the exhibit as much as I would have liked. But that comes with having kids (and learning from previous mistakes about how to safeguard kids with TS as well as property around kids with TS). Most of the other parents there were doing likewise…but some of them were paying little to no attention to the kids in the presence of ancient and priceless artifacts. At one point, I saw a kid almost lick one of the staffs on display!

        When I received a questionnaire about the exhibit, I only listed 2 “needs improvement” scores amongst a dozen or more “excellent” ones. Those two were 1) not enforcing the rule about flash photography, causing another guest behind us to have a migraine, and 2) not securing the artifacts in a way that kids could damage them.

        That said, I did touch one of the exhibits (within the rules, of course). It was a large stone tablet with hieroglyphics. There was something indescribable about the experience: knowing you were touching something so ancient, and the likelihood that the artisan, the priest who placed it, or even a Pharoah himself had once laid their own hands where I now laid mine. That we were all humans in the presence of art, separated by millenniums and continents away. It was a moment I am glad I had the chance to seize.

  • Kry June 19, 2018, 5:50 am

    I can see both sides but the thing that jumps out at me is that the childs welfare was ignored over the monetary value of the unsecured, easily damaged statue.

  • Lauren June 19, 2018, 7:04 am

    $132,000? It may have been technically difficult to make, but I don’t like the piece, and I find it a little hard to believe anyone would place it’s value that high.

    • admin June 19, 2018, 7:38 am

      Particularly an art piece being displayed in a community center with dubious security.

      • Kay_L June 19, 2018, 11:21 am

        The artist is the one valuing it that high.

        • admin June 19, 2018, 12:46 pm

          Yes I am aware of that. I am also quite aware that young artists over value their work to the point that no one will buy it. Art is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

          • Liz June 20, 2018, 12:29 pm

            That applies to everything.

    • Princess Buttercup June 19, 2018, 9:43 am

      Your lack of appreciation for art does not dictate the value of the work and talent put into it.

      • admin June 19, 2018, 11:22 am

        I minored in art in college, had my ceramics displayed in gallery shows….value of one’s artwork is relative. You can put a price tag of $1,000.00 on it but if no one buys it at that price, it’s essentially worthless in a freemarket. It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

        • InTheEther June 19, 2018, 4:35 pm

          Masters of Fine Art here, and most young artists severely undercharge for their work and devalue art for everybody. It’s actually a serious issue. You don’t realize how time consuming and outright expensive art is to make until you’re depending on it to both pay for itself and cover the rent.

          It’s fine if you don’t like the piece. I have my own issues with postmodern work, as it tends to be ugly and focus way to desperately on some philosophy or statement. But in practice, that’s the sort of thing people who can afford to drop $100,000+ like. It lets them prove how enlightened they are that they can appreciate this sort of thing as opposed to the common folk like us. This artist is likely playing to his market.

          From what others have said, that price tag is being demanded by the insurance company. And you can’t get a piece insured for that amount just because the artist says that’s the price tag. The insurance company would have done their work, checking what other works of the artist have gone for and getting a curator to look at it and everything. This thing had every possibility of going for that price, and possibly more if a good auctioneer played the system right.

          • sillyme June 20, 2018, 12:39 pm

            This is why I write.

          • Lauren June 21, 2018, 3:06 pm

            This piece is so dated, I really doubt that.

      • Lauren June 21, 2018, 3:05 pm

        Ha ha – Oops on your part…I actually minored in fine art in college, had jobs and internships in several museums, and I still paint, draw, sculpt, etc.; and I work as a graphic artist.
        Your post is hilarious for two reasons. 1. Incredibly wrong assumptions, and 2. Perpetuating the “I’m an artist and if I made it, it is fine art” BS that nobody actually falls for who works in the art world. You know art critics exist, and that only bad artists and pseudo intellectuals would have an issue with disliking someone’s piece.

    • LizaJane June 19, 2018, 3:39 pm

      Yeah, who accepts an appraisal provided by the artist? Nope. That’s the price.

    • Jelly_Rose June 20, 2018, 9:22 am

      Sources say the guy worked on the piece for two years… That might have a bit of a factor into the price, but I think the price is ridiculous for the piece.

  • Devin June 19, 2018, 7:05 am

    I think the thing that’s strikes me is that you see the mother in the video sitting near by not paying any attention to her children. She doesn’t even look up till the crash of the statue drew her attention away from her conversation. Change the scenario, in the amount of time she was looking away her kids could have walked out of the building into a parking lot, been taken, or found something on the floor to choke on. I’m which case there wouldn’t be any talk of the community centers responsibility to the child. Parents know their kids best and have an obligation to ensure whatever surrounds they bring their child into will be safe for them. If you know your kid gets touchy when in stores or with new things, you need to keep an extra close eye on them.

    • Annie June 19, 2018, 8:04 am

      This happened in my city and I’ve seen a longer version of the video with a wider shot. It showed the kids running in and out, sometimes with who I assumed to be Dad. Mom told local media they were leaving a wedding and she was out of the camera shot, saying her goodbyes at the time. Don’t believe women shown above weren’t with the little boy.

    • Princess Buttercup June 19, 2018, 9:37 am

      Mom was not in sitting nearby. Those ladies were totally unrelated. Mom was gone, out of sight, an another room. The kid was being ignored by his parents. That’s his parents failure to be parents that resulted in the destruction.

    • Michelle June 19, 2018, 12:01 pm

      Exactly, Devin. The child was unsupervised and you can clearly see he had to step up on the base of the statue to reach it.

      I work in museum and we have seen this kind of thing many times. Some parents (not all, some) just plop the kid down and start playing on their phone or chatting to their friend, never once glancing to see where their child is. We’ve had to lock down the museum because suddenly the parent realizes their child is “missing”. Many times we find the child in the next gallery over and once we found a child asleep under a bench in the gallery. A museum or community center is not a playground and if you choose to visit these places and bring your children, you and/or your spouse or partner need to supervise them.

      The majority of the items in our museum are secure and will not tip over. But when adults ignore clearly marked displays (Please do not touch, Please do not climb on) because they want to get a picture of their child standing inside a megalodon’s jaw or on an antique car, then yes, you should pay for it if it gets damaged. If your child falls and gets stabbed by razor sharp megalodon teeth while climbing off the display, that’s on you, not the museum.

      We don’t want to have to put everything behind plexi-glass but if people cannot follow or choose to ignore rules, we will have to. We had to put plexi-glass and metal rails around our Foucault Pendulum because people were putting/letting their children climb down into the display to try to catch the cord and knock over the colored blocks. Now they can’t damage the pendulum, but they kick the plexi-glass while the parent is tapping away on the phone or chatting with friends. We don’t want your child hurt and we don’t want our displays/exhibits damaged.

    • CMK June 19, 2018, 3:19 pm

      Yes this exactly! Is she 100% at fault? No, they took a risk displaying it as it was in a community center. But she has this attitude that she is in no way at fault because she was too busy chatting with a friend to supervise her child. I would have charged her the whole thing too just for that BS attitude.

  • AMC June 19, 2018, 7:35 am

    It would be a good idea for the museum to put up additional safety measures for the sake of both the art and their patrons. However, whether they do that or not, the bottom line is that the parents are responsible for supervising their own children in all spaces. I’m a parent of a 6-year-old, so I get how tough this can be for even the most diligent and protective parents. Kids are quick and curious. It only takes a second for them to get out of your eye line and into mischief. But that’s the nature of parenthood. When you have kids, you accept sole responsibility for the actions and safety of your child for approximately the next 18 years of their life.

  • cleosia June 19, 2018, 7:41 am

    First, I must point out that the museum didn’t demand payment, their insurance company did. That’s what insurance companies do. When I had to have surgery for a ruptured Achilles Tendon, my insurance company sent a form trying to see if there was someone from whom they could get back the money.

    Second, if you have an active, rambunctious child, you need to pay attention. You can’t just sit there on your phone and let them run wild, amusing themselves. Watching them is your responsibility. And it’s kind of hypocritical seeing her complaining that nobody was worried about her child’s well-being after the incident when she clearly wasn’t so worried about about her child’s well-being before the incident. It was clear that there were things on display that could prove to be a danger to her child but she was happily playing on her phone and not paying attention to him at all.

    • Huh June 19, 2018, 8:15 am

      I don’t even know that it’s the mom on the phone in the video, as she said something one time about being “just around the corner.” I took that to mean just around the corner of that room. My mom, watcher of way too many horrifying news stories, drilled into my head early that I could NOT be “just around the corner” from her at any time, as she heard about a kid kidnapped and killed because he ran “just around the corner” in a public place from his mom and someone grabbed him. Her scary story, real or not, stuck with me and my kids grew up knowing they had to stick close when little.

      • ladyv21454 June 19, 2018, 2:57 pm

        Your mom’s story probably was true – she may have been talking about Adam Walsh. He was in the next aisle in the store from his mother when he was kidnapped and later decapitated.

  • cwm June 19, 2018, 8:06 am

    I live in the area and have been to this community center. They aren’t a museum, but they’re a place to showcase a lot of art, and it’s all around all of the open spaces. Hallways, foyers, all filled with art from community members. From a local news source, it turns out that this was a gallery/art sale installation. The piece was displayed exactly as it was received from the artist.


    If someone rents out the community center, it’s their responsibility to monitor their guests. The people working the community center aren’t security guards. They are there to make sure the rented rooms are stocked with whatever is necessary (snacks, drinks), to keep the bathrooms cleaned and stocked, and to deal with any potential problems as they arise. They are not there to monitor children. Full stop. The parents should monitor the children.

    It looks like from the Kansas City Star website, when the art piece fell it wasn’t the first time the child had tried to play with it and had been told the first time by a parent to leave it alone. This responsibility is solely on the parents.

    • AS June 19, 2018, 12:22 pm

      Thanks for the full version. There seemed to have been a man supervising the children (probably the dad, or a relative), but even he was gone. And no child should ever climb on art displays! Period. It is not something that was toppled because the kids bumped into by mistake. He was climbing all over it, and that is unacceptable. People have the right to display their art pieces and trust that patrons would not climb over it. The kids were indeed throwing a ruckus, and the mother seemed pretty oblivious to it. And her statement “Maybe my son hugged a torso because he’s a loving, sweet nice boy who just graduated from preschool” is disgusting! If he wants to hug someone because he’s a loving boy, he could have hugged mom, not a display! Teach him not to hug or touch something that doesn’t belong to him. (And I can’t help thinking of her reaction later in life saying “my son hugged that girl because he is a loving, sweet, boy who just graduated high school!”)

      • Me June 19, 2018, 12:30 pm

        Oh, it is not disgusting, preschool children hug everything, animate and inanimate.

        • AS June 19, 2018, 2:03 pm

          The hugging is not disgusting. The mother’s reaction to it, while being totally oblivious to the fact that the boy climbed a statue and broke it is.

          • AS June 19, 2018, 2:45 pm

            Also, the boy wasn’t really “hugging” the statue ever (even in the long version of the video that one of the commenters had posted).

  • SS June 19, 2018, 8:14 am

    I’m confused. The comments made by the admin and the other comments here all talk about a museum, but the video says this happened in a community center. A museum is expected to have fragile art that you should NEVER touch. However a community center is a place where activities and children are expected to be abundant and therefore any pieces of art or statues should be firmly attached.

    • LizaJane June 19, 2018, 3:42 pm

      This is a great point.

  • Huh June 19, 2018, 8:19 am

    I have taken my kids to many different kinds of museums, art galleries and weddings. And you better believe I kept my eye on them the whole time when they were little even though they had been told over and over DON’T TOUCH. My oldest was always good about that kind of thing, my youngest, now a teenager, will still have moments of “ooh” (reaches hand out) and I’ll have to be like, “Excuse me, what do you think you’re doing?”

    If the kid bumped into it and it fell over that would be one thing, but climbing all over it, no. Your kid is misbehaving and that is the consequence of your misbehaving kid. Watch your kid or pay the consequence.

    • jazzgirl205 June 19, 2018, 6:27 pm

      I agree. I come from a family of artists and lawyers. My brother makes large public art (bronze civil rights leaders, soldiers, city leaders) so my daughter grew up around works in progress and not touching what doesn’t belong to her. She has been going to art galleries, the symphony, and the ballet since she was a toddler. We worked with her to take care of her things and not tear up other people’s things. I trusted her handling the fine china since she was 5.
      There are families who do not take these precautions or teach these lessons. They live in a house where nothing is valuable and everything is disposable. The children are allowed to jump all over the furniture and dance on the tables. They think they are letting their children be children and have a happier childhood. The truth is, these children are terrors everywhere else. They are a problem at any public place – museums, movie theaters, public pools, and school. They cause havoc in other houses. I’ve seen these children miss out on birthday parties, pool parties, opportunities to earn money helping with something, and even their parents stop taking them to places that aren’t “kid friendly.” It is unfair to expect everything to be unbreakable to accommodate your child. Meanwhile, the children who are taught to respect other people’s things get invited on outings, get paid for doing small jobs, get invited to parties, and have the self discipline to learn about the world around them.

      • staceyizme June 19, 2018, 8:02 pm

        I think that it’s far less about the value of an item than it is about the fact that property that is not your own should be respected. I’m reasonably sure that some bed jumping, table dancing, furniture jumping children can manage to be perfectly nice and reasonable in their comportment when the situation requires it. The critical distinction is that some environments require a different set of behaviors and this is a skill that some parents teach well and some do not. It really has very little to do with whether or not they are afforded more liberty than someone else believes is seemly at home and everything to do with whether or not they have been taught proper self-regulation and are able to accept the words “no, we don’t do that here… here we have to-“. Plenty of kids who were taught “proper” behavior at home under run amok abroad because they lack the awareness and the empathy needed to modify their behavior to suit the environment and the occasion.

      • galatea June 19, 2018, 10:41 pm

        dancing on tables, oh, yes. I once (ONCE!) babysat for a family who allowed their children to dance on coffee tables. Well, they had a wooden one, at home, but they didn’t stop their children from dancing on the GLASS coffee table at a friend’s house.

        Glass is not “kid friendly,” folks. And it’s not the owner’s fault for having a glass table. It’s your fault for allowing the children to dance on the table, and when someone tries to stop it, for shouting at the adult that “Oh, no, they’re allowed to do that! How dare you try to stop them!”

        I was present at their house to see them “be allowed” to dance on the sturdy wooden coffee table, and although I thought a lot of the things they were allowed to do was not good, they were on their home turf, with home rules, and at least it was sturdy. But one babysitting session was enough with these kids. Ugh. But then, I was at the friend’s house, when the family came visiting, and was basically left in charge of the kids, while the older adults were in another room, talking. I was an adult, but only 20, so… “free babysitting teen” apparently, and I hate that attitude, even when the person really is a teen. The rest of the group of adults basically ignored me, but I couldn’t ignore the children, so it sort of combined to them not bothering, and me jumping into baby-sitter mode, but it still rankled, because I would have liked to be with the adults, too.

        And then, when I tried to stop the kids from 1) getting hurt and 2) breaking a friend’s property, I got yelled at, because, after all, we all knew they were allowed to dance on their coffee table at home.

        I love most children, but I am still picky about which ones I’ll actually take responsibility for, and who I will willingly babysit, because some of them have been brought up to be holy terrors. And I don’t bother with holy terrors. You can’t pay me to bother with them, anymore.

      • Huh June 20, 2018, 8:31 am

        I agree, it’s 100 percent teaching kids to have respect for other people’s things – whether its fine artwork or your mother’s nice shirt that you decided to borrow and got a hole in it (ahem, youngest!) And if you damage it, no matter how embarrassed you are, you apologize and make amends, whether it’s fixing the shirt (youngest) or paying for it.

        Oddly enough, youngest LOVES to go antiquing. And while we always have the talk before going in – remember DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING and be very careful when you walk – I’ve never had to worry about her in the stores, she seems to get her head together and is extremely careful.

  • VickyJoJo June 19, 2018, 8:31 am

    I have seen this video and news story in many of my social feeds. This is 100% the parent’s fault. They were ignoring their child as he was running around like crazy so they can sit on a couch and chat. He was holding, grabbing and climbing up on that piece for a decent amount of time before knocking it down and yet the parents/mom did nothing. And in an article, she doesn’t even take responsibility for not supervising her child or teaching him not to touch. Instead she defines him by saying he was probably trying to give it a hug (although clearly in parts he was only interested in grabbing the boobs)

    Now for those who say it should have been roped off or secure: many museums do not have a barrier between the public and artwork. This allows the public to really look closely and appreciate the art. A museum expects the public to behave in a respectful way and expects parents to control their kids. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a beautiful glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly on display (I would post an image but can’t here) in the courtyard. It is not roped off and has been on display without incident since 2011 when it was acquired. The John Singer Sargent vases are also out in the open. I have seen school trips here and parents taking their kids to the museum during school vacation weeks. There has been no incidents because parents and teachers set expectations and supervise as they should.

    • DGS June 19, 2018, 10:16 am

      This. I have taken my children to numerous museums, and when I was a child myself living a big city with numerous cultural attractions, my parents had taken me to various museums and art exhibits. Children are children – they will be rambunctious and run around, so it’s up to parents to set appropriate expectations ahead of a museum visit and to monitor their children appropriately. I do not particularly care for this piece of art, and I am not sure how its value was determined by the insurance company, but nonetheless, the parents are responsible for monitoring their child. What if the little boy was hurt by the collapsing sculpture?

    • BS June 20, 2018, 1:47 pm

      Those aren’t the parents on the couch. If you actually read the article, you’d learn that the parents were in another room – not the people on the couch.

  • Jackie June 19, 2018, 9:27 am

    This boils down to parents not parenting. A 5 year old is old enough to know better, unless they are not taught how to behave in public.

    My friend and I taught ALL of our children from a very young age, “nice touch.” We could have brought them into a China shop and not had to worry. Even my youngest, most ill behaved child, would never have behaved that way.

    I did not read all of the comments, but trying to place the blame on the museum is wrong, it should be on the parents for not teaching their child how to behave.

  • Princess Buttercup June 19, 2018, 10:05 am

    Mom is totally in the wrong here.
    1. For not watching her child. She wasn’t even in the same room as her child. Dad previously saw the kid run to the art and try to play with it and had to tell him to leave it alone. So he knew that could be a problem yet still allowed the kid not only out of sight but in a different room from him.
    2. She made a comment in this video about no one would expect to go into a place where children are invited and have to worry about expensive art. What an incredibly clueless statement. Kids are allowed many places that have expensive art, or costly items to buy. Even some library’s will display costly art and library’s rely heavily on kids to use their services.
    3. Of course the insurance company isn’t going to ask if the kid is okay. That opens them up to people trying to claim they are admitting they knew the kid could get hurt. And open themselves up to a huge lawsuit. It’s just like any insurance company will tell you that if you are in a car accident you should never say sorry or admit fault because that opens the door to go from “pay for the damages” to “I’m suing for mental anguish”, and on and on.
    4. The kid is groping the statues breasts and trying to climb it. Even if that had just been a hug (which is ridiculous) he still should have been taught not to touch what isn’t his. And should have been watched.

  • viviennebzb June 19, 2018, 10:18 am

    Parenting fail, period.
    She’s lucky it’s only 132K, could have paid with her child’s life.
    Actions have consequences.

  • PJ June 19, 2018, 11:00 am

    First of all, I agree that it is the parents’ fault. They should have been watching their kid more closely. As a parent myself, I know that’s hard, but I also know how quickly kids can get themselves into trouble! That kid was grabbing at the sculpture for a while with no parent in sight. (I’m assuming the women seated in the video aren’t actually the child’s parents, since they didn’t look like they were in the process of saying goodbyes like they stated in the article).

    That said, the community center could have done better. It is not a museum– with people coming solely to view pieces of museum-worthy art. They are a community center that happens to display local works. The visitors are community center event guests. While ‘good behavior’ should still be expected, the community center is kidding themselves if they think that everyone through their doors will behave as museum-goers.

    Second, I find it troubling that the price tag on the work was set to the artist’s asking price. Was anything done to validate this price? There is a certain amount of materials and hours in the work, but that doesn’t mean they add up to the price– it could be significantly higher or lower. What price has his other work actually earned? Is $132,000 in line with that? It seems odd that Travelers wouldn’t at least do some sort of more objective appraisal.

    • AS June 19, 2018, 12:37 pm

      1) The mother probably hadn’t seen the security footage, and said her own version of it. She’s not going to say that “I was sitting there and chatting with others while DS was running around”.

      2) I think that the price tag is the insurance company’s price tag, which is the amount quoted for getting the insurance (and the premium paid on). It has nothing to do with the actual price the art would have been sold for.

      • annie June 19, 2018, 5:59 pm

        Refer to article in Kansas City Star, noted above. Mother was “standing down the hallway”, “didn’t see what happened.”

        • AS June 19, 2018, 9:07 pm

          I saw that. And in the accompanying video, a lady gets up and walks up to the child, who I suspect is the mother (she looks similar to the mother in the interview at least). So, she wasn’t really “standing down the hallway” as she claims to be doing.
          And anyway, why are the parents no where to be seen when the kids are running around and climbing on things? They were at a wedding; so if the kid climbed on the cake table and destroyed it, for example, would people blame the married couple or the venue or the bakers for “not securing the cake more”? Or would you blame the parents for not looking noticing that the kids have climbed a cake table?

          • gramma dishes June 22, 2018, 4:30 pm

            No, the lady who got up to see what happened had no relationship to the child at all. The mother was not in the room at the time of the incident.

      • LizaJane June 19, 2018, 8:26 pm

        Re: The $132, 000. The article states that it was the amount the artist valued it at. I’m surprised the insurance company agreed to insure it at that on his opinion.

    • staceyizme June 19, 2018, 7:54 pm

      The key here might lie in the fact that art is somewhat subjective. However, it’s much harder to dispute the price of an item that is broken beyond repair. In that case, I think you kind of have to suck it up, unless it’s a clear case of being grossly overvalued.

  • Eliza June 19, 2018, 11:37 am

    What I really loved was the mom’s total refusal to take any responsibility. “My child is a very loving child. He was probably hugging the statue”. The video shows that he jumped up several times to grab at and climb on the statue. I don’t blame the kid but I do blame the mother.

    • LizaJane June 19, 2018, 9:02 pm

      Refusing to take responsibility is exactly what insurance companies instruct people to do.

  • Kay_L June 19, 2018, 11:40 am

    I would consider this an attractive nuisance.

    A community center is for the use of all, including children. And the value of the things that are placed within reach should be reasonable.

    Not only was this thing within reach, the base apparently had a small pedestal that a small child could use to boost themselves up.

    Now, yes, the parents should have been watching him. But, there are degrees of supervision depending on where one is. In a regular museum, of course, a child should never be out of one’s grasp.

    But, a community center? I would expect that there would be children running about.

    And why would anything of value being displayed to the public not be insured?!! That’s really the key here. Because, I would bet that there are different prices depending on where and how an insured piece (if it truly is very valuable) may be displayed. Insurance companies aren’t going to allow something with a $100K price tag be set up the way this thing was set up.

    It wasn’t insured. So, where are we getting this ridiculous astronomical number? Why, from the artist himself! Pfffftttt!

    • EOM June 19, 2018, 1:51 pm

      You’re wrong about almost everything.

      It was a community centre, but one that is well known for displaying art in all public areas. It’s not the Y.

      Statue bases almost always have a wider base in order to make them more sturdy. It’s not a step.

      It was insured. Apparently for $132,000. That’s why the insurance company sent the demand letter. You think they’re wasting their time demanding money for something that wasn’t insured?

      If you think that things with $100K price tags must be secured behind some kind of barrier to be insured, you should go spend some time in museums or art galleries. Or car shows…

      • Kay_L June 19, 2018, 4:56 pm

        It’s not just it’s value but it’s fragility.

        Would you leave something like that where anyone, let alone children might damage it if it belonged to you?

        An expensive car is a bit different as one is unlikely to total the car by touching it. Sure, it’s possible that some expensive damage could be done. But, I would bet you that every car you see at a car show is insured for it’s complete value.

        And, sorry, but you’re wrong. The piece at the community center was not insured. The artist is claiming against the community center which is trying to claim against the parents.

        But, it’s unlikely that they will have a case. Their damages will be limited to whatever is laid out in the contract for whomever rented the community center, just like the artist’s damages will be limited to whatever contract he had for displaying it there.

        But $132K? Not on your life! Just because an artist puts a price tag on something doesn’t mean that’s what he is entitled to in damages.

        • InTheEther June 19, 2018, 6:40 pm

          Who said anything about the artist asking for damages?

          The artist spent a lot of time making this piece which, yeah is typical post-modern asthetically unnapealing, but is the sort of thing that people who like to brag about being fine art patron tend to buy. Before loaning it out to the center he wisely approached a company about insuring it. The insurance company looked at what his other pieces and similar work have gone for, likely getting a curator or critic to take a look to verify its worth, and agreed to insure it for $132,000.

          The artist likely already has his check. The insurance company paid that. He’s not this delusional person trying to gouge a poor mother or taking advantage of the situation. He’s no longer part of it. This is the insurance company trying to get their money back by going after the person who caused them to have to cut that check (or at least their guardian since you can’t exact sue a 5 year old).

          I have issues with the overblown fine art market and the pretentiousness of postmodern work, but the artist has shown no signs of being unfair or unreasonable. He lost out on a lot of money by this thing being smashed.

        • AS June 19, 2018, 9:01 pm

          @Kay_L : listen to the thing once again (or read the long version that another commenter posted) – the artist din’t claim the damage, the insurance agent sent them the letter. Which means that the piece was insured for $132K.

  • shoegal June 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    I place the blame on the parents. Art is on “Display” which means – it is to be looked at. Not touched. How many times as children were we told to look but don’t touch? This is definitely one of those times. Renoir’s and Monet’s are also on display behind velvet ropes – I can reach forward and easily touch them – but should I? A small child, as difficult as it is sometimes, needs constant supervision. Despite the fact that this child’s mother was “around the corner” probably close or what have you – this wasn’t good enough. The boy’s safety and behavior should be his parent’s constant concern. If he was hurt or traumatized it is his parent’s fault – they weren’t doing their job. It is not possible to make every area in the entire world safe for children.

    I have a problem with the value of the piece in question. Yes, I do understand that the time it took to create the piece has some value for the artist.. I see this alot at craft shows – some items are priced high because of the time and effort it took to make it. But although the item is “nice” – its priced too high and nobody buys it. Eventually the artist comes down in price because they won’t sell any of their pieces. Perhaps there is someone out there that falls in love with it and will pay any price to own it even $132,000 but how can we know this information for sure?

    • Kay_L June 19, 2018, 1:52 pm

      In society today quite of a lot of art is made and displayed to be touched and interacted with. There is a whole movement that wants children to see art as something accessible to them, not as something that they can’t touch.

      That said, it doesn’t mean that all art is be made for children to touch. But, if I was going to display a piece in public that was fragile, I would make sure that it was done in such a way that would reduce the possibility of it being damaged. And I would insure it.

  • Kimberly June 19, 2018, 12:28 pm

    This wasn’t a kids’ playground. The child was not supervised properly by the parents, so they are at fault. That said I hope the insurance company privately handed the people’s in charge their heads on a platter. The display could have easily been knocked over by someone tripping or other type of accident.

  • Me June 19, 2018, 12:33 pm

    I find it interesting how many of you blame the parents for not” parenting”. It is easy enough to take your eyes off your kids for a few minutes for them to do something like that. You don’t even know what was going on with the parents who might have just been around the corner maybe they had another child who is having an emergency, maybe one parent was in the bathroom with a child…there are any number of reasons why the parents weren’t watching the child at that minute and talking like all of you are so great of parents that you would never let this happen is totally bogus.

    • Sara June 19, 2018, 1:56 pm

      It may indeed happen on one level or another to all of those commenting. But the difference will be who takes responsibility. If my child escapes my care I am still responsible for the damage he causes. This happened at Halloween. A house lined their sidewalk with lights right up to the edge and its placement made it a trip hazard. I tried to navigate but when I focused on my second son the first inevitably tripped and broke the lights. I absolutely apologized and paid for the lights.

    • Beez June 19, 2018, 2:47 pm

      Exactly!!! This scenario is my nightmare. I have two extremely active and busy little boys. I do my best to keep them with me and keep them from touching things but as a parent I am neither omniscient nor omnipresent. I have had the joy while wearing a dress and high heels at an event to have my 3 yr old jerk away from me and sprint into the crowd. By the time I was able to catch up with him he was helping himself to the buffet table. Such a lovely moment as a mother, removing your sons hand from the potato salad. I will agree that the mother is doing everything she can to shift the blame and appears oblivious and dismissive of the damage her son caused, please do not act like your child has never broken anything, run off, or touched anything they shouldn’t. This is an extreme example and mom isn’t helping by shifting blame but people crucifying her isn’t helping either.

    • Helen June 19, 2018, 3:13 pm

      @Me- by several accounts, the father of the child had already admonished the child for touching the piece earlier. They knew he was drawn to it and could have held his hand. I watched the video several times and it seems the boy who pulled the statue and another child took off running down a hallway after the statue fell, so it’s not a case of being just around the corner. The boy was clearly not hugging the statue as he was too short to reach it. He clearly stood on the pedestal/base of the statute, reached up and pulled it hard enough for it to topple.

      I’m glad the child was not seriously injured. I’m sorry paying for the piece may make things tight for the parents, however, this was clearly a case of not having proper supervision. He didn’t just bump into it.

    • Miss-E June 19, 2018, 4:06 pm

      I think the issue is less that mom wasn’t watching but more that mom & dad didn’t teach this kid not to touch things that aren’t theirs. That’s the parenting fail imho

  • Sara June 19, 2018, 1:57 pm

    It may indeed happen on one level or another to all of those commenting. But the difference will be who takes responsibility. If my child escapes my care I am still responsible for the damage he causes. This happened at Halloween. A house lined their sidewalk with lights right up to the edge and its placement made it a trip hazard. I tried to navigate but when I focused on my second son the first inevitably tripped and broke the lights. I absolutely apologized and paid for the lights.

  • susanna June 19, 2018, 2:13 pm

    This new preschool graduate is learning the fine art of deflection and redirection of resposibility that is so wrongly rampat in today’s world from his mother.

    • annonn June 19, 2018, 3:18 pm

      But isn’t that the way of the world today? Blame everyone else for your mistakes?
      I have watched the video. The kid was at fault, and the parents too for not watching him.

      It was a Community Center where a Wedding was being held. I am sure the bride/groom chose the location b/c of the way it looked, with the art. People need to be responsible for their kids, period. I have three children, I wouldn’t let my 5 year old run around a “Community Center” without supervision period. Who knows who may just walk in and whisk them away – then who is responsible? You have kids, watch your kids. Parents need to take accountability for their actions, but in today’s world, it’s always someone’s fault.

  • AS June 19, 2018, 2:42 pm

    I am surprised at the number of people saying that the statue should have been secured better. This is not a case where a child came and rammed into the statue by mistake and knocked it down (in which case, while the parent still should have been watching the child, they often do things suddenly that parents have no control over). But the child was CLIMBING over the statue SEVERAL TIMES, while the mother was sitting there and chatting! And the statue still didn’t fall until he reached way high up (he wasn’t hugging it, by the way) and sort of pulling it with his hands, and it toppled over!

    The artist and the community center had secured the statue enough that even a child climbing over the pedal didn’t topple it over. An artist should have the liberty to put a statue and secure it reasonably enough, and trust that parents can control their children from knocking it over. Otherwise, every statue in a public place would be open for vandalism, and parents just wash their hands off of responsibility. This is place with lock and key, which means that not everything should be secured and stuck to the ground. It doesn’t matter whether you think that the statue was pretty or not – it is still not the artist’s or the community center’s fault. Watch your children, people!

  • jokergirl129 June 19, 2018, 3:36 pm

    It is the parent’s responsibility to look after their kids and to teach them to not touch things that don’t belong to them. Base on the other comments it seems like the mom was in another room when this happen and her son wondered off to play with another boy when the incident happen. I also watch another YouTube video of the security footage that showed more of what happened.

    In the video we see the boy step up onto the base of the podium and reaching up to grab the statue’s breast. And it looks it he was pulling on it because you can see the statue leaning forward a few times before going back into place. Then you can see the boy grab/hug the statue near the base, the statue leans forward again (probably because it looks like he’s pulling the statue closer) and we see it fall against the boy before toppling completely and hitting the ground.

    The boy was clearly messing/playing with the statue causing it to eventually fall. I know that accidents can happen and sometimes even the most watchful of parents can loose sight of their kids. But the doesn’t change the fact that parents should have kept a better watch on the boy and he needs to be taught to not touch things like this. I mean you would think even a 5 year old would know better than to grab/hug a statue and pull on it. And it doesn’t matter that it was in a community center he still shouldn’t have touch it.

    Also just because kids are allowed in doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be supervised. Maybe you can argue that the community center could have secured the statue better but at the end of the day the parents should have kept a closer eye on the boy.

  • staceyizme June 19, 2018, 7:44 pm

    We go to a variety of museums, everything from the Art Car Museum to the Museum of Fine Art in our city and you KNOW that if you take your family into a public space, then you are responsible for their conduct in said space AND responsible for any damages. We’re too entitled in this culture. “Don’t display tbe art in a way that would allow it to be damaged”. Really? How about you watch after your child and if you know that they are prone to impulsive conduct, you make sure that you are on hand to prevent it? Or- if you don’t feel comfortable and confident with that, you DON”T take them to places where a mishap of a similar scale could possibly transpire? I think that any choice a parent makes is fine. Expecting society to indemnify them for the mischief their own children inflict, whether on an institution or a private entity such as a school, home or church, is unjust. You CAN teach young children (and special needs persons who require more vigilance and reminders) not to touch what isn’t theirs and to stand back from displays so that they can observe without an accident. What if the child merely tripped and knocked the item over? Do we insist that every space that displays valuable objects must secure them to our satisfaction before we are willing to acknowledge our own fault if someone not of a responsible age damages an item? Honestly, I think we’ve gone too far in this direction. Children are impulsive, but you must supervise your children. Some poor woman was recently awarded $45,000.000 because a 10 and 12 year old decided to drop a basket off the second floor gallery of a Costco onto her head. Some might argue that while they intended to be mischievous, they didn’t intend to cause the permanent harm that was inflicted on the victim. Other recent stories include people who have defaced national monuments for promposals and caused many other bad outcomes through poor decision making. Children DO need some assistance and the advocacy of a competent adult, if for no other reason than to keep them from coming to harm through this kind of mishap. Shrugging metaphorically that “they’re only kids” or “they didn’t mean it” fails to undo the harm done. The facility wasn’t negligent, the child was, and by extension the child’s parents were. Any other interpretation is an invitation to a fearful “open season” on the mishaps that daily occur all around us. A good early lesson is that “you may look, but not touch”. A harder lesson, but an inescapable one, I think, is that you must make right what you have put wrong, even if it’s hard, embarrassing or seemingly impossible. A sincere apology from the parents (which the articles that I read did not allude to) along with a real effort to begin paying what they could towards the debt would be a good beginning. An “oopse” car wash or twenty, and other crowd funding to put matters right would not be amiss, and would help to make whole the harm that was done to the artist and to the venue that was displaying the item. The family taking a lead in responsibility and in participating in efforts to repair the harm would be a good lesson for all of us in responsibility and in the potential to make right even significant wrongs.

  • LizaJane June 19, 2018, 8:46 pm

    1. The kid shouldn’t have been doing what he was doing. Kids do things they’re not supposed to sometimes. There are people on here acting like their kids have never and will never touch or do something they’re not supposed to. I really hope it works out that way, but I think you’re dreaming.

    2. $132, 000 was the artist’s price tag. I saw nothing in the article saying there was an appraisal from a neutral 3rd party. For whatever reason, the insurance company did not require one. I find this questionable in practice. As someone else posted, the value of art is subjective. Especially a piece that has never sold.

    3. The article states that the insurer is contactually obligated to attempt to recover their loss. This doesn’t mean they will pursue it in court. They are well aware that the parents could countersue for negligence. If the artist supervised or did the installation, he could be liable.

    4. The parents are asked for their insurance information. What, their homeowners? Would that be covered in a homeowners policy?

    5. Insrance is meant to cover accidents which this clearly was. It wasn’t willful destruction or vandalism.

    • brooke June 25, 2018, 12:01 pm

      Regarding your last point (5. Insrance is meant to cover accidents which this clearly was. It wasn’t willful destruction or vandalism) ….but this was NOT an accident. The child knew what he was doing, he had been told before to stop, yet he continued to do it three separate times, and he pulled it over, as he was pulling it intentionally. Just because he is 5, doesn’t make it an accident. He was purposeful in what he was doing. There was no accident.

      • LizaJane June 26, 2018, 7:28 am

        I see your point. I just believe it would be very difficult to prove the intent of a 5-year-old.

  • AJ June 19, 2018, 9:28 pm

    “These days” it’s become “offensive” to blame parents for their parenting inadequacies, so this mother is merely going by the playbook – “You offended me; no soup for you!”

  • galatea June 19, 2018, 10:23 pm

    I agree that children should not be left unsupervised. That kid had no adult anywhere nearby to say, “Don’t touch that.”

    However, what if the child (or an adult, for that matter), had simply been walking past, and tripped? In my opinion, if anything is on display within reach of a person, be it on purpose or on accident, then there needs to be some protective measures put in place, or it should be inexpensive and non-dangerous. Because I’m a tripper. I have tripped many times.

    There was nothing to stop anyone from getting right up to that statue, and it was made of glass? I shudder to think of the injuries that might have happened, not just to the child, but to anyone within range of shattering glass shrapnel.

    This is why most museums have sculptures behind glass, right?

    Nevertheless, that video proves that the child was NOT supervised, and that parent took NO responsibility for it, during the interview. It was all “Why didn’t they apologize to me? I’m offended they called me negligent.” Well, if you leave a five-year-old kid to wander unattended, guess what?! That’s negligence.

    This is one of those stories where both sides are to blame, to a certain extent, and I’d really hate to be a judge in this matter, deciding about money.

  • Jomo June 20, 2018, 3:38 am

    If I were on the fence about this, the parent’s attitude toward the situation does it for me. Of course things are not the same now as when I was that age, but if that had been me and I knocked over someone’s collection of aluminum cans I would have been swatted. Let alone a piece of art. My parents would have apologized profusely and genuinely embarrassed. This parent’s attitude is that their child should have been free to roam without any parental oversight. Then (THEN) is offended that no apology was given after the precious offspring destroyed a piece of art.

    While I’m on the late night rant I’ll answer the obvious question: No, I don’t have children. Nor am I obligated to adore other’s children behavior.

  • Raintree June 20, 2018, 4:02 am

    I agree – I can’t believe the number of parents who just allow their kids to run around touching everything in sight and they do nothing to even attempt to stop it. Let this be a lesson to those kinds of parents. It may be a community centre but the room in this video does not appear to be a play area to me. Should be quite obvious to anyone walking through that this is not an interactive display.

  • MPW1971 June 20, 2018, 6:51 am

    This Community Center is a bit inconsistent in displaying its art. Clearly the video shows a few pieces in a secured glass case – but this statue came down far too easily. Museums will frequently have staff around to limit the access to a room with pieces like this, so you don’t end up with a crowd jostling to look at one piece while bumping in to another. The same occurs during social events at galleries – like a wine and cheese reception when a new exhibit comes out. Even adults aren’t necessarily focusing on the art in those situations, especially in a crowded room.
    The fact that a five-year old on tiptoes managed to bring this down makes me wonder if it would not fall over during a stiff breeze. I know, it’s Kansas and earthquakes aren’t likely, but in the effort to display this with maximum effect, this top-heavy piece wasn’t exactly secured properly for all likely conditions.
    No insurance company would pay for the damage, to, say, a delicate and ancient piece which was left out for the public to handle.
    I fully appreciate the lack of supervision and the blame lying mostly upon the shoulders of the parents for this happening, but seeing the way that statue came down, it was very likely it would have fallen over from something else that was accidental and unintended – like, say, someone sweeping the floor and bumping it with their broom.

    • AS June 20, 2018, 11:05 am

      Check out the longer video. The kid is not tiptoeing, but actively climbing and pulling things multiple times! The child was at it, standing on the base, and pulling the torso of the statue for a few seconds before it finally fell. And there was no parent around the whole time!

      • MPW1971 June 25, 2018, 1:51 pm

        Yes, I saw that. It still couldn’t withstand a walking adult (or one sweeping the floor) bumping into it or, for example, a toddler running into it. There parents did not supervise their child, but that statue was not secured to begin with.

  • NostalgicGal June 20, 2018, 7:10 am

    From the side of having done contract art/professional artist… and running into the entire gamut of art and artists… one fellow I knew, in 9 years, the only piece he ever ‘sold’ looked like an oversized Ronald McDonald shoe shape painted with irregular starting and stopping narrow horizontal stripes–he had valued it at $5,000.00 and the trailer containing it and dozens of other artworks at a show (the show hired a guy to drive around the country with the trailer and drop stuff off, cheapest return shipping plan) got stolen the night before the returning trip began, and the insurance had to pay out at the listed value for all the items. Whether the stuff was worth it or not. Some other stuff I’ve been near was seriously undervalued by the artist in my humble opinion. The worst critics can be other artists. How it’s priced can be subjective. I can say there are pieces I don’t want to sell, so I have a pretty stiff tag on them, if you really want it bad enough it’ll cost–I don’t like the notation NFS so even if it’s an astronomical price, I like to see that it could be entertained to be obtained.
    In this case the piece should have been much better secured, for that I fault the venue and as the insurer I would point to and fault the venue for lack of security. I place some blame to the parents even though it sounds like it was addressed before the incident occurred, that the kid had made contact with the item=in the end the kid crashed the artwork.
    I’m glad the kid was okay. First and formost, life and health come first.
    Did the loaning facility give any minimums on acceptable security and display? Often a loaning facility such as museum would provide a piece already mounted or otherwise prepared for display and have further instructions on security and display of the piece. It would be in the contract signed between the loaning institution and the borrower.
    I’m afraid the lion’s share goes to the facility displaying the piece. To the one that damaged or destroyed, a percentage; but in this case it’s the place that borrowed and put the piece out for display.
    [years back a beautiful travelling art jewelry through the ages travelling display collection made rounds. From the first location they had published a galleria book and indicated that the collection had been prepared for display and mounted to displays by the lending institution (some pieces had been borrowed by them to assemble this collection). They came in to the borrower institution packaged and ready for display and with spelled out criteria for the display and security of the items, as well as specialized packing medium and shipping containers. It was mentioned that several of the borrowing institutions would have loved to study some of the pieces in depth but because they’d been prepared and secured to display devices, stands, etc; they could not be removed and handled further–in the contract. I seen this collection near the end of the roughly three year run; and indeed, you could see the discreet fastenings, etc, everything securely ‘nailed down’ and it was all in cases or behind ‘glass’]
    This should not been able to happen in the first place. Period.

  • Jelly_Rose June 20, 2018, 9:26 am

    An art museum near where I grew up had to buckle down on security of paintings after one adult (an adult mind you) walked up to this beautiful piece of oils, chalks and watercolor, looked at the painting then reached out and streaked his finger down the piece to see if it was ‘real’ . Upon seeing his finger was dirty, he rubbed his finger on the wall beside the piece and wandered off. This was told to me by a guard when I asked why the painting were now suddenly roped off.

  • Marozia June 20, 2018, 8:05 pm

    If it isn’t yours, don’t touch it..simple as that!
    That dreadful parent didn’t even think about the artist and the work that was put into the display.
    No wonder the world is in a mess with people like her around.

  • Jamie June 21, 2018, 10:39 am

    The parents should of been watching their child. The mother made a statement in her interview about having expensive objects out where children play. HELLO!! its a museum, not a playground. Watch your kids! Be responsible for your kids!

  • Ashley M June 21, 2018, 8:48 pm

    I had seen/read in several places, including a video of someone who worked for the community center, that the statue WAS secured, but still was clearly not meant to be climed on.

    Mom wasn’t looking. Obviously she can’t have eyes on him 24/7, but she was straight up paying attention to a bunch of stuff that wasn’t him or her other child.

  • Asharah June 22, 2018, 8:50 pm

    “What Would You Do” just did a segment based on this story, only they had a little girl draw on a painting.

  • LizaJane June 26, 2018, 7:25 am

    I see your point, I think it would be difficult to prove that a five-year-old meant to destroy the statue. I believe proving intent is required for vandalism or willful destruction.

  • Marozia June 29, 2018, 7:29 am

    I remember going somewhere a few years ago (I can’t remember the place now) that had a sign that said “Any Children Left Unattended Will Be Sold To The Circus”.
    Not an unattended child in site……