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Aspiring artist "breaks into" museum, displays painting

Rembrandt Van Rijn, self-portrait, 1660
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(CBS/AP) WARSAW, Poland - Polish art student Andrzej Sobiepan didn't want to wait decades for his work to appear in museums. So he took matters into his own hands, secretly hanging one of his paintings in a major gallery.

Is that how Rembrandt got started? (I know, he was Dutch)

By Wednesday, the young artist was getting plenty of attention after a nationwide TV channel reported on his stunt at the National Museum in the southwestern city of Wroclaw. He told reporters he hoped galleries would give more exhibition space to young artists as a result.

"I decided that I will not wait 30 or 40 years for my works to appear at a place like this," Sobiepan told TVN24. "I want to benefit from them in the here and now."

The kid's got chutzpah - or, at least, the Polish equivalent.

Sobiepan, a Wroclaw Fine Arts Academy student whose last name means "his own master," said he was inspired by the elusive British graffiti artist known only as Banksy. His own painting is small, white and green, and partly uses swine leather to show a drooping acacia leaf.

On Dec. 10, Sobiepan put it up in a room with contemporary Polish art when a guard at the museum was looking the other way. Museum officials didn't notice the new painting for three days.

Museum director Mariusz Hermansdorfer told TVN24 on Wednesday that the action revealed some security breaches, but that he also considered it a "witty artistic happening."

"It has shown that the young generation of artists, unlike their predecessors, wants to see their works in museums," Hermansdorfer said.

The museum has kept the painting on display - in its cafe. It will be offered for sale at Poland's biggest charity auction on Sunday.

Life, imitating eBay.

  • Barry Leibowitz

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