Houston Art Vandal, Uriel Landeros, Planning an Art Show: Milking Every Last Drop of Fame from Vandalism

Yesterday, the Houston art vandal, Uriel Landeros, who scrawled "conquista" across a Picasso painting several months ago for everyone "who has suffered any injustice of any kind," said on Facebook, "I don't back out. Others do."

Thanks, Uriel. Because where would the world's disenfranchised be without your noble vandalism?

We've seen this inanity out of Landeros before. He's already made it abundantly clear that he's against bad things -- whatever those bad things are -- and he'll prove it by vandalizing art. So, there. But for now, at least, he's done talking about the vandalism. We've arrived at Chapter 2. It's time to talk about Uriel The Artist.

Um, yay?

Landeros, who's absconded to Mexico along with a local gallery owner named James Perez, is planning a showing of Landeros's paintings at Perez's studio on October 26 to get out Landeros's message. Though everyone's still a little unclear what that message is. But lay off the guy, said Perez, who's managing the Facebook invite list. All of his work is for "the underdog."

But how does vandalizing Picasso help the underdog? we asked.

"No one has any idea what his cause is," Perez said, getting a little testy. "I don't give a shit! I don't give a fuck! He wants to represent the underdog. It's hard to know what it's about, and that's why he comes off as an idiot."

Landeros has given Perez permission to sell four of his paintings, and Perez expressed confidence that demand -- and prices -- will be high. But he's not in it for the money, Perez said. All of the cash is going toward defending Landeros against the two felony charges against him. Landeros faces ten years in prison if convicted.

Perez perhaps should be a little concerned about the money, though. As of Friday, his gallery at 1045 Studewood owes nearly $1,000 in unpaid property taxes, according to Harris County property records.

During our conversation with Perez, it was unclear whether he was merely trying to raise his stature through Landeros's buffoonery. Perez said he isn't. He said he actually believes in the 22-year-old's art, which he compared to Picasso on the Facebook event page, titled "Uriel Landeros 'Houston we have a problem.' "

But Perez does concede that the vandalism did catapult Landeros into notoriety, calling it "genius marketing." He continued: "It was all like, 'Look at me, motherfucker.' Then, bam! He went straight through the roof. I commend him for it."

Well, at least someone does.

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Terrence McCoy
Contact: Terrence McCoy