A bright-blue garden gnome, one of four once perched on a pedestal outside the Cornell Art Museum in Delray Beach, is missing in what the museum is describing as a “gnome-napping.”
The 35-inch gnome is part of a contemporary exhibit called “Lit” on display at the museum until Aug. 28. The blue gnome, once bolted to a pedestal outside the museum, was taken overnight Thursday, said New York-based artist Sam Tufnell, one of 16 featured in the exhibit.
“It’s unfortunate, that was a one-of-a-kind gnome in that color,” Tufnell said. The museum is offering a $500 reward for the safe return of the gnome, according to Cornell’s Instagram account.
Since the theft, the museum has taken down the three remaining gnomes, leaving only the pedestal outside in the exhibit’s only outdoor work. They plan to replace the stolen gnome once they have a “more permanent” method of securing all of them, Tufnell said.
“Ultimately I’m not sure if it’s an act of appreciation or absolute hatred, but we would very much like for the gnome to be returned and be reunited with the series,” Tufnell said.
The gnomes are made from resin with added pigments to appear vivid in color. Inside the museum, more of Tufnell’s works are scattered throughout the exhibit. “Lit,” which opened in late April, pulled together pieces by artists who incorporate light into different forms of artwork.
Tufnell adds an element of humor to his work by making molds of commonplace objects, recreating them with resin and either keeping them clear or adding bright color, he said.
“Contemporary art and high art can be a bit serious and overwhelming for viewers,” he said. “I think art should be about things you find in your everyday experiences.”
Anyone with information about the missing gnome is asked to contact the museum at (561) 243-7922.
The museum’s exhibit hours are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is a suggested $5 donation. The museum is at 51 N. Swinton Ave.