Monday, June 18, 2018

If You Bought a Fake Rolex at Actual Price, So Would You

“The Brooklyn Museum, which recently announced its prized collection of stone sculptures from ancient Egypt was cluttered with fakes, is planning an exhibit with these pieces to raise awareness of forgeries in the world’s art collections. …A three-year inquiry found that of the 31 Coptic sculptures, most were either retouched in some way or entirely fake. Some were repainted or reworked, and about a third were modern forgeries made of Egyptian stone.”

More at The China Post.


Guggenheim Bilbao CFO Confesses to Wrongdoing

The director of the Guggenheim Bilbao, Juan Ignacio Vidarte, has admitted that the museum lost €4.2 million of public money when it purchased Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time (2005) using US dollars rather than euros to buy the work. An investigation and audit also uncovered the embezzlement of over €480,000 by former Guggenheim chief financial officer Roberto Cearsolo.

From the Art Newspaper:

Although museum officials declined to comment on the ongoing internal investigation and lawsuit filed against Mr Cearsolo by the Guggenheim, a press release issued by the ­institution states that on 11 April the museum received a letter delivered by Mr Cearsolo’s attorney with the former CFO’s signed confession. Included with the written admission of guilt was a cheque for over e250,000 and Mr Cearsolo’s promise to repay the balance of misappropriated funds. The scandal has led Basque officials to contemplate a series of reforms over how public funds at the institution are spent.

The Independent has their version here, and has their version here.


Vandals Shatter Chagall Masterpiece

According to the CBC, an unknown number of vandals shattered part of a stained glass window by Marc Chagall as they broke into the 13th century Saint-Étienne de Metz cathedral in the French city of Metz. “The vandal or vandals smashed a 40 by 60 centimentre hole in Chagall’s 1963 biblical scene depicting Adam and Eve[.]“

To make matters worse (for the vandals that is), France passed a new law last month “that makes anyone who damages a historic building or cultural treasure subject to as much as seven years in prison and a $150,000 fine[.]“

“A statement from the Culture Ministry in Paris said experts would fix the window by fitting together pieces of broken glass that were collected from the site.” Clancco advice: buy stock in Super Glue!


Was Mexican Artist Legally Insane?

An interesting case bridging art and law, specifically asking what defines a person (in this case a Mexican artist) as legally incompetent to make a gift.

From the LA Times:

A bicoastal legal battle has erupted over who owns 17 drawings by Martín Ramírez, whose artworks, created while he lived in California state mental institutions until his death in 1963, now fetch six-figure sums.

The main question is whether Maureen Hammond, a widowed, retired schoolteacher living in Needles, Calif., was the legitimate recipient of a gift of Ramírez’s drawings from a psychologist who befriended the artist and was the first person to arrange for their display during the 1950s?

Hammond’s attorneys, Rick Richmond and Brent Caslin, said that California court rulings suggest that terms such as “insanity” and “incompetence” in committal forms were general terms during the early 1900s, not clinical ones. The involuntary commitment Ramírez underwent “has no bearing on his ability or mental capacity to make gifts,” Richmond said.

Eric Lieberman, an attorney for the Ramírez estate, said Tuesday that it was clear that the artist was ruled insane when he was committed to a state hospital, “and his diagnosis never changed.”


“Does Venice Care About Art or Parking?”

Two Los Angeles artists, Laddie John Dill and Ed Ruscha, find themselves in a potential legal dispute over a wooden fence (or as is known in property law: easements, adverse possession, equitable conversion, etc.). Specifically, Dill and Ruscha allege that they fenced in a railorad easement (check out a cool two-minute definition on Youtube) in Venice, CA twenty-five years ago and have worked in it ever since. Now the City of Lost Angels wants to tear down this fence and put up a parking lot.

“City bulldozers are expected to begin work on the 100-space parking project soon after a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday. That has led the owner of the warehouse leased by the two artists to begin preparing a lawsuit seeking to stop the project.”

More from the NY Times here.


Are You Missing A Picasso, Morandi, or Giacometti?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking for the public’s help finding the owners of hundreds of pieces of art, some of which were stolen, that were uncovered in a New York City apartment in 2006. In an effort to track down the owners, the FBI and the Public Administrator of New York County posted pictures of the most important pieces on their website. More than 300 works of art, including paintings, sketches, sculptures, and other pieces by such artists as Pablo Picasso, John Singleton Copley, Alberto Giacometti, Giorgio Morandi, and Eugene Boudin, were discovered after the death of the apartment’s occupant, William M.V. Kingsland.

According to the FBI, “Kingsland was well known in New York City’s art circles as an engaging and intelligent connoisseur of art, books, architecture, and genealogy. But when he died, he left no will…and no apparent heirs to claim the floor-to-ceiling stacks of paintings and art works crammed into his one-bedroom apartment.”

More from our friendly FBI agents here.


“Only Women Bleed”

From the CBC:

One of the judges of Australia’s top religious art competition has resigned in vehement objection to a work that has been included in the finalists’ short list. Australian art critic and historian Christopher Allen resigned from the panel of judges after Adam Cullen’s triptych Corpus Christi made the short list for the $20,000 Blake Prize for Religious Art. Corpus Christi depicts Jesus on the cross with the inscription, “Only women bleed,” a line from a song by rocker Alice Cooper.

No offense, but the statement at issue seems more pro-woman than anti. Simply put, in Nietzschean terms, this would make women “human, all too human.” Why not go with Cooper’s “The One That Got Away,” “Your Feminine Side,” or better yet, “Killed By Love”?


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