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This Week in Art Crime

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The security at the Tate Britain, one of England’s leading art galleries, is being questioned after a homeless man managed to wander around the gallery freely at night. Apparently the man went into the gallery during the day and fell asleep in the toilets, only waking once the gallery had closed. Speaking to Evening Standard the man, 32-year-old Raj Patel, said:







“I’m not a great fan of art but there’s a loo near the door so I went in. I’m homeless and I suppose the day just caught up with me, so I dropped off … I remember hearing someone open the door and shouting ‘security’ but I was half-asleep and they didn’t check the cubicle. When I woke up the entire place was in darkness. It was just a bit eerie, being there all alone. I wandered around for 10 minutes looking for a security guard to let me out. When I found one, they just let me go – they didn’t even ask for ID or even my name.

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Two Japanese artists are offering visitors to this year’s Frieze Art Fair in London the chance to try a soup made from vegetables grown in Fukushima, The Independent has reported.

The soup’s main ingredient, daikon radish, was grown in Fukushima where, in March 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a local nuclear power plant to melt down, contaminating the surrounding area with radioactive waste.

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There is something very wrong about a UKIP poster in east London. As soon as this one went up, the message went out loud and clear with a two-fingers up at Nige & Co. But last week that graffiti was taken down, leaving the nasty UKIP billboard.

UKIP has no business being in London. As the daughter of an immigrant, I heard the stories. My dad arrived in west London in the 1960s, when B&Bs still had signs in the windows: ‘No blacks. No Irish.’ The UKIP billboard is a stone’s throw from London’s best Vietnamese restaurants. Doctors from other countries fix us in NHS hospitals and immigrants have saved us from a diet of pork chops, Findus cripsy pancakes and instant coffee.

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A little after 10am, two older individuals, a man and a woman, entered the gallery and headed to the Ukrainian section, where security guards and exhibition staff told Hyperallergic they are suspected to have distributed leaflets containing anti-Putin and neo-Nazi slogans and emblems along the ground. They did not interact with gallery staff or security beyond asking the curator, Benjamin Hiller, if he spoke Russian (he does not). The exhibition’s labyrinthine layout covers two countries — Syria and Ukraine — with visitors instructed to begin in the Syria section, though after the brief exchange with Hiller the duo headed directly for the Ukraine section.

Shortly thereafter, a younger male between 25 and 30 entered into the gallery space, heading directly for the table near the entrance where Hiller was seated.

“He asked me if I am the guy responsible for the exhibition, that we have brought shame on the Ukraine people. I tried to explain that we show also the killed [Euromaidan] protesters, but then he pulled out pepper spray, sprayed it in my face and kicked against the table and my laptop fell on the ground,” Hiller told Hyperallergic.

The female member of the original duo left around the same time the younger man entered, according to security guards at the gallery who spoke to Hyperallergic on condition of anonymity, while the older gentleman allegedly defaced one photograph with what appears to be black ink and wrote “LIE” on a gallery wall. Pamphlets containing anti-Putin and neo-Nazi slogans were also distributed throughout the Ukraine-focused section. Hiller notes that angry messages had been posted on a Facebook group for the exhibition, but he has no clues beyond that as to the individual identities of the perpetrators.

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