If we didn’t know who did it, would we think it was vandalism?

Today, the exhibit “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” opens at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. Among the pieces on view are “Dropping a Han Dynasty Vase” and “Coca-Cola Vase” in which Weiwei reinvents ancient Chinese vases by defacing or destroying them.

If a conservator were presented with a neolithic vase that had been painted over with a Coca-Cola logo and knew nothing of the context of the overpainting, would that conservator believe that he or she was dealing with vandalism that must be undone?