Boy, 13, Charged With Defacing Grant Park Statues

18 statues from the popular installation "Borders" were tagged over the weekend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Graffiti taggers have vandalized 18 iconic statues in Chicago’s Grant Park. Regina Waldroup reports. (Published Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014)

    A 13-year-old boy was charged in connection with defacing 18 iconic statues in Grant Park over the weekend.

    The public sculpture installation “Borders,” which features 26 life-size statues by renowned Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, sits in a garden on the northwest corner of Jackson and South Michigan Avenue.

    Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, said he noticed Saturday morning that 18 of the statues were tagged using two different signatures.

    Chicago Police said the boy, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was charged with a felony count of criminal defacement of property and criminal damage to government property, as well as possession of paint or marker with the intent to deface property and possession of a spray can or marker by an underage person.

    After the boy was placed in custody, police said they found "numerous spray paint cans and permanent markers" belonging to him.

    Installed in August 2013, the statues were supposed to be returned to the artist this spring, but their residency was extended until October because of their popularity.

    The faceless, androgynous statues, painted in aluminum or iron, were designed to mirror each other and “allow park visitors to engage with them by crossing the invisible borders they create,” according to the Chicago Park District.

    This is the first time they have been vandalized, O’Neill said. He added that he notified the artist of the vandalism and said she was disappointed to hear the news.