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Family Says Woman Accused Of Damaging Art Has Alcohol Addiction

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Carmen Tisch is charged with damaging a painting at the Clyfford Still Museum. (credit: CBS)

Carmen Tisch is charged with damaging a painting at the Clyfford Still Museum. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- Bond has been reduced for a woman accused of damaging a painting and urinating inside the Clyfford Still Museum. Carmen Tisch appeared before a judge Friday morning.

Tisch, 36, walked into the Denver courtroom in a green and white jail uniform. She mouthed the words, “Hi, Mom” and blew a kiss to her family members who were there to show support.

“This is not something that she would do. She’s a very talented tattoo artist and we love her so much,” said Tisch’s mother Mary Thompson. “This is very frustrating for us. This is not my daughter, okay?”

Tisch has been formally charged with criminal mischief for allegedly scratching, hitting and leaning against the painting at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2011.

According to the Denver Police report, Tisch, 36, then pulled down her pants while leaning against the painting and urinated as she sat on the floor. It is unknown whether any urine got on the painting.

clyfford still painting Family Says Woman Accused Of Damaging Art Has Alcohol Addiction

The painting at the Clyfford Still Museum that was damaged by a visitor. (credit: CBS)

“I have no idea what even happened. I just know that this is not something she would do normally. My daughter’s been addicted to alcohol for a long time. We’ve been trying to get her help,” said Thompson.

Tisch sobbed in court and wiped away tears. She agreed to seek counseling and treatment when she bonds out of jail.

“We haven’t talked to her but hopefully we’re going to get her into treatment real, real soon,” said Thompson.

The painting, worth between $30 and $40 million, is not currently on display at the museum. Damages to the painting are estimated at $10,000.

“One painting has been switched out which we’ve been doing since our opening,” said Clyfford Still Museum Director Dean Sobel.

The museum director said the damaged painting has been replaced with another one for Friday’s community wide celebration at 5:30 p.m. at the museum.

The Clyfford Still Museum at 1250 Bannock Street opened to the public Nov. 18, 2011. Still was among the first generation of abstract expressionists following World War II. He died in 1980. His will specified that his estate go to an American city willing to establish a museum of his work. His widow, Patricia Still, selected Denver as the site in 2004.

Tisch is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 23. Her bond was reduced Friday from $20,000 to $5,000.

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