Barschak jailed for art attack

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The Independent Online

Aaron Barschak, the self-styled "comedy terrorist", was sentenced yesterday to 28 days in jail for throwing red paint over an artist nominated for the Turner Prize.

Barschak, who rose to notoriety this year when he gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party dressed as Osama bin Laden, was found guilty of criminal damage after claiming he was "creating a work of art" by hurling paint over Jake Chapman, his painting, and the floor and walls of the Modern Art Oxford gallery.

Witnesses said Barschak had entered the gallery uninvited in May as Chapman and his brother, Dinos, discussed their exhibition The Rape of Creativity, involving work by the Spanish painter Goya. Barschak, 37, from north London, who has a history of hijacking high-profile events, shouted "Viva Goya" and threw the paint.

He told police the paint symbolised blood and he was making art out of another work, in the way the Chapmans adapted Goya's work. He said that he intended to enter his work for the Turner Prize. "It's an improvement on Mr Chapman's painting and it's an improvement on the wall."

But a judge at Oxford magistrates' court yesterday dismissed this as a publicity stunt. District Judge Brian Loosley said Barschak had not helped himself by refusing to pay £600 compensation, and saying he would fulfil a community punishment order only on his own terms. "It's a serious offence and I have no option other than to send you to prison," he said.

Barschak, in a shabby suit, purple tie and bright red bowler with the top cut out, entered court barefoot.He shouted for a chance to speak but that was denied. Later, Barschak's mother, Miriam, said: "He shouldn't have done what he did."