A new 'Dye' memorial?

Dye in Roman fountain may have been art

One day a vandal, the next an artist. That is the story of the baseball-capped culprit who dumped a bottle of dye into Rome's famed Trevi Fountain on Friday, turning the waters blood red.

No sooner was it determined that the 17th-century Baroque fountain had not been damaged than intellectuals and art critics began re-evaluating the gesture as something approaching genius. "Once the indignation had died down we rediscovered the Fountain of Trevi thanks to that liquid," said Roberto D'Agostino, a blogger who is the Italian Matt Drudge. "It's a resurrection of Andy Warhol, the act of highlighting an object of mass consumption."

Others made the connection between the red of the fountain and the red carpet at the Rome Film Fest, which had just begun. It's a lackluster festival, said the media critic Gianluca Nicoletti, having "no depth, no color. The real splash was the one made at a fountain."

Describing the gesture as a "dramatic representation of the decline of the country," Nicoletti said that photos of the red-watered fountain had made a global sensation. "It was a marvelous event" that put Rome in the spotlight - and "at practically zero cost."
Who needs art school? Buy a bottle of cochineal.