Art Heist Goes Terribly Wrong

claude-monets-1901-waterloo-bridge2
Claude Monet’s 1901 Waterloo Bridge

Evidence seems to confirm that the world is suddenly bereft of six masterpieces—and a Lucien Freud.

In a tale of theatrical complications, Romanian mom, Olga Dogaru explained to police that she burned the works to ashes in her oven in order to insure that there would be no evidence against her son, Radu, who was under arrest on suspicion of lifting them from the Kunsthal museum back in October of last year.

Amongst the works taken in what is universally described as a spectacular heist, were two pastels in colored ink on paper, one by Picasso and one by Matisse , and four modern masters paintings, including a Matisse, a Gauguin, a Monet, a Meyer de Haan. The theives also snatched a painting by Lucien Freud.

Although Ms. Dogaru has changed her story several times in the past weeks, the possibility that the works were indeed incinerated is still under investigation. Forensic scientists at Romania’s National History Museum say it will take months to verify, yet the evidence that Ms. Dogaru’s story is true seems overwhelming.

Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu, the director of the National History Museum told the New York Times that his team had discovered materials that Matisse or Gauguin would have used to prep their canvases, along with samples of colors which, because of toxicity, have not been used since the 19th century. Pre-industrial copper nails and tacks were also found in the ashes.

“Such items, Tarnoveanu told the Times, “would be nearly impossible to fake.”

It may be impossible to conclusively identify if the two pastels by Picasso and Matisse, were burned, Mr. Oberlander-Tarnoveanu said. “Unfortunately, it’s impossible to assess those remains,” he said, “because the burned paper was basically turned into pure carbon.”

See The New York Times slideshow of the destroyed works

À Rebors Surveillance: 150 Thousand Dollar Dali Lifted With Ease

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CCTV footage marks the time of departure (Image credit NY Daily News)

A thief, posing as a customer, lifted a $150,000 Salvador Dali watercolor-and-ink painting right off a gallery wall and blithely walked out with it poking out of the top of a black shopping bag… Details on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/author/cat-weaver/

FAMBIZ IS NO LONGER TAKING WORK FOR “It’s a Small Small World” Sorry :(

Screen shot from the Family Business Facebook page with Family Business photo and comments.

It’s been madness from the start. Hennessy Youngman was chosen by curating guest art photographer Marilyn Minter who has been putting together a series of “Virgin” shows  in the Massimilano Gioni / Maurizio Catallan pop-up, Family Business.

Called “Virgins” the shows were intended to feature works by artists who have not yet had solo shows.

But Jayson Musson decided to hand his alter-ego Hennessy’s  slot over to any and all artists who wanted to drop stuff off before the show, which he dubbed “It’s a Small Small World.”

This, he thought, would be a gesture of gratitude —a way to “give back” to the arts community that has lent so much love and loyalty to Hennessy and his YouTube series, Art Thoughtz.

But as it turns out, Jayson Musson’s generosity has caused the walk-in-closet sized gallery an epic headache: flooded, as could only have been anticipated, by artwork from adoring fans and artists hungry for some wall time, the gallery was forced, today, to close it’s doors. Family Business had been scheduled to accept work through Sunday but the gallery is now saying that they will not take any work tomorrow.

And this is pretty damned sad.

Musson has changed the title of the show to “It’s a Clusterfuck”

Meantime, Musson’s NY debut will take place at Postmasters: “Through a Glass Darkly,” will feature Musson’s  “BLM” (Black Like Me) posters and a Hennessy Art Thoughtz video. “Through a Glass Darkly also features work by artists Oasa DuVerney, and Julia Kul.

Fun Fun Friday

Olek: UNorthodox

“I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone” 27th January – 23rd March 2012

Congrats to Olek for inadvertently offending readers of Haolam Hacharedi,  an orthodox Jewish magazine which pulled issues containing a review of the artist’s latest coup off stands. Apparently when they decided to review Olek’s show at Tony’s Gallery in London, they were unprepared for the photographic contents of Olek’s texty wall weavings which contain intimate messages from the artist’s own mailbox, many of them of a sexual nature.

Isn’t that all men care about? Text, I mean.

Emergency measures were taken as head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London, Rabbi Padwa, knocked out a dictum forbidding sale of the issue.

Read on JR: Orthodox magazine in porn shock
By Nathalie Rothschild, February 16, 2012

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Art Trends:

KRAAAP

Postmodern denial of authorship
Burying big things
Text (see above)
Juicy Colors and Subjects
Critic Art
Ugly Ass Biomorphic Stuff
Arrested Developement Nyah-Nyah Art

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Solidly in the WTF Category

The Press Release says: “THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART PRESENTS THE FIRST LIVE RETROSPECTIVE OF THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC PIONEERS KRAFTWERK” and promises “Entire Repertoire of Eight Conceptual Albums Performed Live Over Eight Consecutive Evenings from April 10 to 17.”

The evening will be comprised of the albums performed in chronological order along with “elaborate staging” “3D images” and (shiver) “new improvisations.”

In case you’re a nostalgic baby boomer or a young technophile:
Tickets are $25.00 and will go on sale to the public on Wednesday, February 22, at 12:00 p.m., only at MoMAKraftwerkTickets.showclix.com. Space is limited. There is a two-ticket limit per person for the series, with each individual order limited to one transaction. Tickets will be distributed exclusively via will call, with photo ID required.

Will Round Two of Cariou v Prince Change Art Law Forever?


You're going to see a lot of this guy -from Patrick Cariou's Yes Rasta

Go ahead, expect more of these sweaty headlines with question marks in them. Because, with the now rather infamous Cariou v Prince case up for appeal sometime this year, we are facing another deluge of half-informed, and angrily contentious, punditry which will wash over the raw, dry, factual sands of more professional reports like a tsunami of histrionics.

Drowning in the madness will be all those bleeding hearts who root for the little guy, and the sundry art world know-it-alls who root for controversy, along with the fastidious fence straddlers like myself who can’t do right by anyone — and, let us not forget, the stalwart naifs who insist on seeing appropriation as flat out theft.

In the background, lawyers toil away, building sand castles of the driest, rawest, facts they can muster.

It is no wonder that the case has captured the attention of so many. It involves a lot of money, after all, and it pits an underdog, Patrick Cariou, against an art star, Richard Prince, and his giant posse of star-makers and lawyers. It also comes after artists had become cocky, with most copyright infringement cases settling without trial, and often to the mutual benefit of defendants and plaintiffs.

At base the issue is this: Richard Prince’s team must prove that district court judge Deborah A. Batts ruled in error when she decided against Prince’s fair use claim. Patrick Cariou’s lawyer, Dan Brooks, must argue that the ruling did, in fact, use the correct legal standard.

Brooks will file his opening brief by January 25th. Faced with the formidable 135 page appeal filed on Oct. 26, 2011 by big guns Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and a nearly 50 page amicus brief filed on behalf of Richard Prince by the Andy Warhol foundation, plus similar briefs from Google and a consortium of museums (including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Art Institute of Chicago), Brooks will have to answer five newly refined points of contention.

  1. That contrary to the first circuit court’s decision, the Canal Zone works that use Cariou’s photos are indeed transformative in every sense established by art history and accepted artistic practice and constitute a fair use of those images.
  2. That Prince’s “intentions” do not factor into the meaning that his work may or may not have since it is the viewer and the context of a work that give it its meaning.
  3. That contrary to testimony, Cariou did not lose any marketing opportunities due to Prince’s use of his images; indeed, his lawyers argue, his book prices soared after the initial bout of litigation.
  4. That the first circuit decision, if upheld, will create a “chilling effect” on future creative work, and thereby will override the very purpose of the fair use exception which is intended to protect free speech and works of social value.
  5. That, in the Batts decision to protect the copyright holder, Patrick Cariou, the rights of the appropriation artist, Richard Prince were unduly impeded, as her ruling overreached in lumping all of the thirty paintings under one ruling.

In Part One of this Three Part series, I set up a virtual dialogue between Dan Brooks (Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP.), Patrick Cariou’s lawyer and Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project and a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.

In Part Two, I will discuss the five points above in greater detail. In Part 3, I will part the waters.

Read the rest and look forward to Parts TWO and THREE on Hyperallergic

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