Fakes & Forgeries

"Museums are for the Dead, I Want Life"

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Image courtesy of The Superslice.  

According to a source “close to the decision-making process,” there is a good chance that the Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management Committee will reverse the ban on the creation of murals on private property when they vote next week.  Check out a great video short on The Superslice about efforts to save public art in the city. Follow the non-profit, Save LA Murals, on Facebook .

A New York Supreme Court justice dismissed a suit against photographer, Arne Svenson, for pictures he took of his neighbors without their permission.  The couple bringing the suit sued Svenson for violating their privacy when pictures of their children appeared in his images.  The presiding justice concluded that, while it was cringe worthy to think a persons private life and images of their children could end up in the public forum without their permission, there is no redress under New York law since art is protected under the First Amendment.

A biography written two years ago has reopened the presumed suicide by Van Gogh for examination.  The writers propose the theory that a 16 year old school boy, with whom Van Gogh was acquainted, shot the artists.  The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has weighed in, remaining unconvinced that his death was anything other than a suicide.  The forensic evidence seems to support the belief that Van Gogh did in fact commit suicide but who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?

Pooled art investment funds, and other non-art related funds, will face heightened scrutiny in the UK.  I may be out of my element here but, “the most valued commodity I know of is information, wouldn’t you agree?”

The idea of buying art on Amazon appeals to me on a democratic level.  However, it appears the site experiences some of the same transparency issues galleries are confronted, with as well as problems unique to internet shopping.

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.