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Detroit boy sticks gum on valuable painting

Written by: Staff
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DETROIT, March 2 (Reuters) Painter Helen Frankenthaler's landmark abstract work ''The Bay'' just got a little more abstract -- to the dismay of Detroit museum officials.

A 12-year-old boy visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts with his school group on Friday stuck a wad of chewing gum on the painting, which is worth an estimated 1.5 million dollars, the Detroit Free Press said.

The barely chewed Wrigley's Extra Polar Ice gum left a residue stain about the size of a quarter in the lower left-hand corner of the painting, the newspaper said.

The boy was suspended from Holly Academy, a Detroit-area charter school he attends, the newspaper reported.

Neither museum or school officials could be immediately reached for comment.

The 1963 painting, which remains on display, is considered one of the most important modern works in the Detroit museum's collection, the newspaper said.

Museum curators expect to be able to remove the gum residue with a solvent once they have researched the chemicals contained in the gum, assistant contemporary art curator Becky Hart said.

''In the scheme of things, this is upsetting, and it will make us review our policies. But we're confident that the painting will be OK,'' Hart told the Free Press.

REUTERS KD SP0946

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