Guard charged with defacing painting by Celmiņš

A security guard at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pennsylvania has been charged with vandalizing a painting by Latvian-American artist Vija Celmiņš. The USD 1.2 million painting, Night Sky #12, is said to be beyond repair.

Timur Serebrykov, 27, of Greenfield, Pa., was charged with institutional vandalism, Pittsburgh police announced June 5. The vandalism occurred May 16 and Serebrykov was arrested May 20. He allegedly used a key to rip the painting, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other local media reports.

The oil on canvas painting is part of Celmiņš’ “Night Sky” series. The painting was one of several that earned the Latvia-born and New York-based artist the prestigious Carnegie Prize worth USD 10,000. The painting was on display as part of the 55th Carnegie International.

Serebrykov, according to a police affidavit cited by media reports, is said to have admitted to damaging the painting with a key. He told police he did not like the painting.

Serebrykov, an immigrant from Azerbaidjan, is said to have had no political motive behind the vandalism, according to media reports.

Serebrykov is due to be arraigned July 29 in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

Night Sky #12

The painting Night Sky #12 by Latvian-American artist Vija Celmiņš was valued at USD 1.2 million.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

3 thoughts on “Guard charged with defacing painting by Celmiņš

  1. Is this an April 1 joke in June? The picture shows a completely black square, is that just a computer problem, or is the “painting” just a black square? And $1.2 million value, is that a misprint?

  2. No joke. As its title suggests, the painting represents a night sky — stars against a black background. Read more about it on the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Web site: The value of USD 1.2 million was reported in several news stories. The painting is owned by the Art Institute of Chicago and was on loan to CMOA.

  3. No wonder. There are millions of people on LA who because of the smog have never seen stars at night. Artist always reach out for the intangible and unreachable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *