art theft

In Memoriam

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Image from Arts & Culture: 104

Walter de Maria died yesterday at the age of 77.  Although de Maria was not a household name, he had a huge influence on the Earthworks movement. Check out his piece, “Lightning Fields” (above), and maybe you’ll see why he is one of my favorites.

In other art law related-ish news:

In a statement made last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital, with supervising and profiting from insider trading.  Cohen is one of the world’s biggest art collectors (he bought the Damien Hirst shark tank. yeah, that guy.) and a trustee at MOCA Los Angeles.

House Republicans seeking to cut NEA and NEH funding by half.  This is definitely the right avenue by which to address our fiscal woes (FRUSTRATED SARCASM).

Meanwhile, over in Europe, a five year global art project called Metabody was given 1.9 million by the EU Culture Program.  The project is set to launch this month.

Apparently, Christie’s sent employees to assess the DIA collection at some point over the past two months. Here come the vultures.  Although there are no clear plans for the museum, everyone has an opinion.  Some believe that selling the collection would hurt the art market.  While others are more supportive, framing the issue as saving the art versus people’s pensions.  While I, surprisingly, tend to agree with the latter.  I do take issue with the city having the ability to sell donated the pieces in the first place. I can’t imagine donors would have gifted their pieces if they had anticipated that they might be auctioned off in order to save Detroit from mismanagement.

The head of security for the V&A museum expressed fear for their Chinese collection, pointing to other recent thefts of Asian art.

The National History Museum’s science laboratory in Bucharest has submitted an initial report stating the ashes discovered in a suspected art thief’s home contained fragments of oil paintings.  This could indicate that the suspect burned a Picasso (see last post) he allegedly stole among other pieces, including two Monet works.

In other plunderous affairs, some ill-informed thieves stole 10 paintings and two drawings from the Van Buuren Museum in Brussels.  One of the drawings was a Van Gogh scholars have fingered as a potential fake.

Heat Waves, Hot Topics: A Tale of Two DIAs

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Some great links from around the Internets.  Stay cool people.

DIA drama over deaccessioning plan.  Try to say that three times, fast.

Also, Detroit has officially filed for bankruptcy.  This does not bode well for the Detroit Institute of Art.

A member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council has announced that he plans to fight future art funding endeavors. Spoil sport. I was lucky enough to visit to Hong Kong last summer.  The trip was incredible, particularly because of noticble investment the city has made in developing publically available art.  It would be a shame to see this pass.

Graffiti art knows no bounds in Iceland where the police are looking for the parties responsible for painting giant words on the rocky landscape in the Myvatn region.  The Environmental Agency of Iceland has called the act “nature terrorism”.

A Finnish museum has refused a request from the Iraqi government to return six artifacts which were donated to the museum in the 1970s.

Over in the UK, Freddie Mercury’s estate had a spat with Go Go Gorilla charity over a gorilla statute painted in the likeness of the singer.  The estate claimed that the clothing, “worn” by the gorilla, breached their copyright on the iconic suit.

The US has confirmed its commitment to restoring relations with UNESCO after withdrawing support in October 2011.

A stolen Picasso may have turned up, albeit in ash form.

 

Big Developments in Gardner Art Theft Case

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According to The New York Times and CNN: Federal officials announced that they know the identities of thieves from the Gardner Art Theft.

Also: an op-ed piece discussing the new findings

As mentioned in our recent entry, the FBI is now using this website to collect information and locate the lost artworks.  Of note: the FBI is now offering a $5 million reward for the return of the 13 pieces stolen in 1990.

 

Art Law Articles of Interest

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It was the largest property crim in US history, one shrouded in mystery for 23 years. Now the FBI is turning to cyberspace as it trumpets a breakthrough in the case.
When Art Finance Bets Goes Bad: The Downside of Third Party Guarantees – Blouin ArtInfo
A 19-year old Romanian woman has been arrested for the theft of seven paintings worth up to 100 million euro from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam
Last April five thieves stole 18 valuable Chinese artworks from the Fitzwilliam Museum.  The case is set for May 20th.
Artist Sued by Reluctant YouTube Star: “Technoviking” alleges breach of privacy. – The Art Newspaper
Hermitage to Host Manifesta Biennial: Exhibition will test increasingly conservative climate in St. Petersburg. – The Art Newspaper