Buenos Aires Thinker, vandalised
8 september 2011
Graffiti is common in Buenos Aires, ranging from barely legible scrawls supporting or condemning political figures to huge artistic murals. The political messages are particularly prevalent in the Plaza de Congreso and the Plaza de Mayo due to the large number of protests and marches that take place in those areas, and very few surfaces are considered off-limits.
On september 8 2011, The Thinker in the Plaza de Congreso was spray-painted pink and given green hair and a feminist shoulder tattoo.
Government officials cleaned the sculpture rapidly, blasting it with water to remove the paint. However art conservationists are now concerned it may have suffered more damage from the aggressive technique. Art expert Cristina Lancellotti told AFP the cleaning may have done more harm than good "because irreversible damage could result to the original patination".
The bluish-green patina that forms on the surface of bronze objects over time, due to oxidation, gives the metal artwork its unique look. It is considered an integral part of the world-renowned sculpture.
Authorities are now considering whether to relocate the sculpture closer to the actual parliament building or place a protective metal grill around the artwork.
See interview with Lancellotti below images