Skip to main content

A 91-year-old woman finished a crossword puzzle that was actually art in a museum

A 91-year-old woman finished a crossword puzzle that was actually art in a museum

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

A 91-year-old woman in Germany had an itch she needed to scratch; a hole she needed to fill; a blank crossword she needed to finish. According the The Telegraph, the unnamed woman was wandering the Neues Museum in Nuremburg, blending in with the other visitors, when she came across a piece by Arthur Køpcke. Titled "Reading-work-piece," the work of Fluxus art is a crossword puzzle layered over an inky-black background. Alongside the work, a sign reads "insert words." For roughly sixty years, viewers of "Reading-work-piece" have, at most, taken the sign as a cheeky joke or glib commentary. No one inserted words. That is, until my 91-year-old soul sister came along.

She saw that piece and she did as Køpcke said to do. She inserted the words. And now, she’s being investigated for damage to property worth around $89,000. So she broke the law a little bit and got a little handsy with the art. It moved her! Besides, the point of Fluxus in part was to repackage pedestrian jetsam, and resell it to the elite as high art. My new friend merely returned the crossword to its original state, a reclamation by the commoner against the global plutocrats.

Not since dysmorphic Jesus has art and its observer so intimately interacted. Can I just put a picture of that Jesus in here? I’m putting a picture in here.

Bless this mysterious 91-year-old woman, a true modern day art hero. We can all only aspire to be more like her when we grow up.