Vandalism costs transport authority 110 million kronor

Graffiti and vandalism cost Stockholm county transport authority SL 110 million kronor ($13 million) last year, new figures show.

Vandalism costs transport authority 110 million kronor

SL’s graffiti problem came to the fore at the weekend when the authority demanded compensation from Sweden’s University College of Arts, Craft and Design (Konstfack) after one of its students vandalized a metro car in a comment on graffiti.

SL has declared its intention to seek 100,000 kronor ($12,000) in compensation from Konstfack.

SL is also demanding an apology for the “offence caused to the affected passengers” but has not yet reported the matter to the police.

“First we and the police need to find out where this happened and when it happened. When we know that we will submit a complaint to the police,” SL spokeswoman Gisela Pollinger told news agency TT.

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth expressed anger on Saturday after seeing the film of the art student’s work.

“I do not think that vandalism is art. And I presume that Konstfack does not intend to pay for the train car,” she said at the Market art fair in Stockholm.

The minister’s reaction came after watching the two minute long film, “Territorial pissing” which features a masked graffiti artist splashing masses of paint in front of a crowd of metro passengers. The artist also then breaks a window.


Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.


In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.