Friday, December 21, 2007

Thieves steal Picasso painting in Brazil

By STAN LEHMAN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Dec 20, 5:05 PM ET

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Armed with nothing more than a crow bar and a car jack, it took thieves just three minutes to steal paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari, worth millions of dollars, from Brazil's premier modern art museum.

Authorities said they hit the Sao Paulo Museum of Art just before dawn Thursday — a time when the city's busiest avenue is deserted and the guards inside were going through their shift change.

Jumping over a glass partition, they climbed an open concrete staircase leading up into the entrance of the two-story modernist building, which hovers over a large plaza on stilts of steel.

For a short time, they could have been seen from blocks away. But the thieves worked quickly. A few jabs of the crowbar, and they were able to slip a common car jack under the metal security gate. A few more cranks and they squeezed inside.

Hazy images from a security camera shows three men going in at 5:09 a.m. They smashed through two glass doors, ran to the museum's top floor and grabbed the two framed paintings from different rooms, somehow avoiding nearby guards.

The alarm never rang, and by 5:12 a.m., they were making their escape.

"It was a professional job; it was something they studied because the paintings were in different rooms," said the lead police investigator, Marcos Gomes de Moura.

Picasso painted "Portrait of Suzanne Bloch," in 1904 during his Blue Period. It is among the most valuable pieces in the collection, museum spokesman Eduardo Cosomano said.

They also took "O Lavrador de Cafe" by Portinari, a major Brazilian artist.

"The prices paid for such works would be incalculable, enough to give you vertigo," said curator Miriam Alzuri of the Bellas Artes Museum of Bilbao, Spain.

Jones Bergamin, a Sao Paulo gallery director, estimated the Picasso at about $50 million and the Portinari $5-$6 million.

"I talked to friends at Christie's and Sotheby's and made the estimate based on the last Picasso that sold, "Garcon Avec Pipe," which is from the same blue period," Bergamin said.

But Bergamin disagrees with the police theory that the thieves are professionals, since they ran past many other valuable paintings, including a very important Renoir, a Raphael, and paintings by Rembrandt and Degas.

"I think they took the Picasso because it was so small and the Portinari because it was hanging by the door," he said.

The Picasso measures 26 by 21 inches and the Portinari 40 by 32 inches, the museum said.

Police believe there a fourth person may have acted as a lookout because they found headphones near the museum's entrance.

Thieves attempted a robbery at the same museum in late October but were foiled by the alarm system. This time, the alarm failed. Moura said he believes Thursday's robbery was carried out by the same gang.

Police were interviewing 30 museum employees, but none of the guards had fewer than 10 years on the job, Moura said. They also alerted Interpol and airport police to try to stop the paintings from leaving Brazil.

And while Moura doubts the paintings are being held for ransom, police are ruling nothing out.

"Everything indicates they were sent to do it by some wealthy art lover for his own collection — someone who, although wealthy, was not rich enough to buy the paintings," Moura said.

"O Lavrador de Cafe," which depicts a coffee picker, was painted in 1939 and is one of the most renowned works by one of Brazil's most famous painters. Portinari (1903-1962) was an influential practitioner of the "neo-realism" style. His best known works outside Brazil are the "Guerra e Paz" or "War and Peace" panels at the United Nations in New York.

The museum said this was the first robbery in its 60-year history, but art thieves also hit Brazil last year, when a gang of five men used a carnival street parade to cover the theft of four paintings by Dali, Picasso, Monet and Cezanne from a Rio de Janeiro art museum. Those works, valued at around $40 million have never been recovered.

With the museum closed Thursday as police searched for clues, a handful of visitors were frustrated and perplexed.

"Who could imagine that someone could enter a museum and walk out with two paintings? It's inconceivable," said Deborah Regina Fernandes, a 37-year-old housewife who came with family and friends.


Associated Press Writers Michael Astor in Rio de Janeiro and Harold Heckle in Madrid contributed to this report.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Only China

...can make something like this.

Got this from

In Harbin of Heilongjiang Province, China, snow sculptors from around the globe have gathered for the 20th International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. One of the design is Romantic Feelings (shown above and below), the 115-foot-high and 656-foot-long snow sculpture believed to be the largest in the world.

All I can say...awesome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Will Ryman

Tuesday Afternoon
November 8, 2007 - January 5, 2008
Reception: November 8, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Will Ryman
Marlborough Chelsea
545 W 25th St

The sidewalk: Man Collecting Cans, 2007
PVC pipe wire, resin acrylic paint, wood
129 x 92 x 48 in., 327.66 x 233.68 x 121.92 cm

Will Ryman
The Sidewalk: 3 Card Monty (2007)The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce the opening of of an exhibition of new work by the young American sculptor, Will Ryman. This exhibition will take place on the first floor of Marlborough's new Chelsea gallery, 545 West 25th Street, and it will be Ryman's first New York show with the gallery.

The Bed, 2007
Papier mache, magic sculpt, resin, acrylic, wire mesh, wood, cloth
96 x 180 x 330 in., 243.84 x 457.20 x 838.20 cm

The exhibition will show Ryman's most ambitious work to date. Entitled Tuesday Afternoon, it will be comprised of two installations which are conceptually interrelated as happening at a concurrent time on a particular day. Before devoting himself to sculpture Ryman, always interested in the theater of human emotions, wrote plays. In the installations at Marlborough he creates a setting in time, Tuesday afternoon, in a similar way that a playwright might structure a play. The first installation is entitled Bed; the second, The Sidewalk, and both works are made of mixed media materials - steel, paper mâché, epoxy resin, acrylic paint, PVC tubing, wire mesh, Styrofoam and wood.

The Sidewalk: Man with Umbrella, 2007
Aluminum, PVC pipe, copper, resin, acrylic paint, papier mache
55 x 48 x 48 in., 139.70 x 121.92 x 121.92 cm

As described by Edward Leffingwell in the essay of the exhibition catalog, “The monumental bed (15 x 27 x 8 feet) bisects the gallery in what amounts to middle distance. With one arm dangling from the bedside, the recumbent figure occupies a dream-filled moment just this side of waking. Ryman speaks of these yards of rumpled sheets as a landscape of rolling hills and mountains, telegraphing the installation's scale to the vernacular urban landscape of the sidewalk and the street. A floor lamp towers above a scattering of ale cans, a Moleskin journal and pen, some keys and a watch, a half-eaten bag of Doritos, cigarettes, matches, and slippers tucked neatly at a corner of the bed. An emblem of fidelity, a dog, rests at his side, tail raised in the laziest of wags. With the ominous presence of an alarm about to ring, a burning cigarette dangles from the dreamer's hand signaling the approaching interruption of his reverie where half asleep he awakens from the dream.

The Sidewalk is composed of twelve different groups of figures which are conceived in the artist's imagination as a slice of New York street life. The Sidewalk is positioned in the gallery to run parallel to its front windows, thus creating an echo of the sidewalk outside. According to Leffingwell, both works “are conceived as objects and ideas fixed in a single moment of stopped time, the bustling population of a side walk on an active urban street and a massive dreaming figure sprawled on a mass of tangled sheets.”

Ryman says his works “explore the bare bones of emotions, of human frailty, the bare bones of vulnerability, the rawness of psychology, and conditions that are human,” and he wants the viewer to see each piece as an act in a drama. He states his mission is to break subject matter down to its truest form, and he wants to do that with emotions and relationships. As he puts it, “I am trying to turn the conditions within us into the three dimensional.”

Commenting on that motive Leffingwell concludes his essay by saying, Ryman's “tableaux venture beyond the theatrical and performative, their stilled activity eliciting the capacity for discovery and surprise, the impetus to look and the capability to recognize a common humanity.”

Before joining Marlborough Ryman had five solo shows: two in New York, one in Seattle and two in Munich. From 1990 to 2001 he studied writing in various workshops and wrote two plays and thirty one-act plays. Since 2001 he has devoted himself completely to sculpture. He lives and works in New York City.

China Square NY


ChinaSquare テ贇「ラ「セ・br>545 W 25th St. 8th fl.
Chelsea Arts Tower
New York, NY 10001
Tel. (212) 255-8886
Cell (908) 358-2454

Curated by Fang Lei & Jonathan Goodman


Cao Xiaodong, Jing Kewen, Li Luming, Shen Jingdong, Su Xinping, Wang Yiqiong, Yang Qian, Yin Zhaoyang, Zhang Hongtu, Zhao Nengzhi, Zhong Biao


December 4th - January 12th, 2007 / Opening Reception: December 13th, 6.30-8.30 pm
ChinaSquare is pleased to present Revolution, a group show curated by Fang Lei and Jonathan Goodman featuring Cao Xiaodong, Jing Kewen, Li Luming, Shen Jingdong, Su Xinping, Wang Yiqiong, Yang Qian, Yin Zhaoyang, Zhang Hongtu, Zhao Nengzhi and Zhong Biao. These artists, born during the Cultural Revolution, examine the legacy of Mao's socialism in ironic and allegorical ways. As Mainland China embraces late capitalism, monuments and leaders once revered are judged and deconstructed. The participants in the show pay homage mostly to another time, when politics was not so easily engaged or made fun of. The artists' nostalgic memories of youth are juxtaposed with the ideological revolutions that now take place everyday.

Fang Lei, a Beijing-based independent curator since 1998, has curated and organized a number of exhibitions and events including the Beijing Biennale, Guangzhou Triennial, and Shanghai Biennale, etc.

Jonathan Goodman has been writing about contemporary Chinese art for more than a decade. Based in New York, he is currently teaching at the Pratt Institute and the Parsons School of Design.

My favorite:

Shen Jing Dong
Navy/ Army/ Air Force, 2007
oil on canvas
120 x 180 cm / 47.24 x 70.86 in., for each piece

Jing Kewen
Dream 2006 No. 16, 2006
acrylic on canvas
200 x 300 cm / 78.74 x 118.11 in.

Li Luming
Aiming, 2007
oil on canvas
150 x 200 cm / 59.05 x 78.74 in.

Zhang Hong Tu
Ping-Pong Mao, 1995
mixed media installation, ed. 2/5
76.2 x 152.4 x 274.3 cm / 30 x 60 x 108 in.

Zhong Biao
Grandma's Sky, 2007
acrylic on canvas
400 x 280 cm / 157.48 x 110.23 in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Banksy coming to New York

Banksy, the Bristol-born graffiti artist, has a show opening December 2nd at the Vanina Holasek Gallery in Chelsea. If you've been to Angelina Jolie's rumpus room recently you might have seen his work hanging on her wall (she bought one of his paintings at his LA show) or you might have bought one of his books at Urban Outfitters. Either way, you must have been struck by all the issues he raises in his work the fuck pays £200,000 for spraypaint-and-slogan sophomoric crap? (To be fair, it did feature a white family having a picnic and African orphans, two things the Jolie-Pitt household loves.) But Banksy's art isn't just issue-based, it's also a god investment, as per a press release for the show: "His art has escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man." Also, "Banksy images are even being used to sell 900k condos in Williamsburg." Suck on that, Andy Warhol!

Laughing all the way to the Banksy. Think you haven't heard of Banksy? Think you don't know who he is? Let us remind you; whilst others spray their names, Banksy paints pictures, pictures that have made Banksy a household name. He is the most controversial and downright interesting graffiti artist at large in the UK today and the chances are that you have already heard of, or seen some of his work, smiled and moved on. Variously described as a "guerrilla artist", an "art terrorist" or - by those of a more prosaic turn of phrase - as a "prankster" Banksy is someone for whom celebrity is anathema. So much so that he has never let the world know his real name - and he has never even posed for a photograph.
And yet everybody is talking about him...he is unknown but his work is unmistakable.
He's the maniac who got on the news for managing to smuggle one of his pieces of art into Tate Britain and embarrassed everyone because nobody seemed to notice...He's the wit behind the stencilled "Mind the Crap" writing that appeared overnight on the steps to Tate Modern. He is the prankster who smuggled 500 alternative copies of the Paris Hilton CD into record stores. He is the subversive who placed a life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee in Disneyland. He's the jester who gave LA a painted elephant. He is the trickster whose hoax cave painting of a man pushing a supermarket trolley sat in the British Museum unnoticed for three days. He is the infiltrator who disguised as a pensioner hung his perfectly framed pieces in the Metropolitan, MOMA, Brooklyn Museum and his "dead beetle with glued on sidewinder missiles and satellite dish" had pride of place in the Museum of Natural History NYC. Get the picture, get this. Banksy images are even being used to sell 900k condos in Williamsburg.

Is Banksy the new Warhol? Following record auction sales of both Warhol and Banksy, critics have examined the similarities in both aesthetic and content between the two artists, their interest in celebrity culture, and their examination of social values. Like Warhol, Banksy has become a darling of the stars, with his works gracing the homes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jude Law, Damien Hirst, Kate Moss, Robbie Williams. Banksy is undoubtedly a major player in terms of advancing the envelope of what art is with the result that over the past several years, his art has escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man.

He is a visionary, the leader of a new artistic movement and the anonymous poster boy for free speech. Come and see what all the fuss is about.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vincent Van Gogh's letters in Morgan Library

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
September 28th - January 6th

Painted with Words is a compelling look at Vincent van Gogh's correspondence to his young colleague Émile Bernard between 1887 and 1889. Van Gogh's words and sketches reveal his thoughts about art and life and communicate his groundbreaking work in Arles to his fellow painter. Unseen for nearly seventy years, and never before exhibited, the twenty letters document the close, vital friendship of the two artists.

Van Gogh's letters to Bernard reveal the tenor of their relationship. Van Gogh assumed the role of an older, wiser brother, offering praise or criticism of Bernard's paintings, drawings, and poems. At the same time the letters chronicle van Gogh's own struggles, as he reached his artistic maturity in isolation in Arles and St. Rémy. Throughout the letters are no less than twelve sketches by van Gogh meant to provide Bernard with an idea of his work in progress, including studies related to the paintings The Langlois Bridge, Houses at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Boats on the beach at Saintes-Maries, The Sower, and View of Arles at Sunset.

To complement the letters, more than twenty paintings, drawings, and watercolors by van Gogh and Bernard are on view. These works document their dynamic exchange of ideas—among them are paintings and drawings discussed and sketched by van Gogh in his letters to Bernard. The works of art are drawn mostly from collections outside of New York, and feature numerous works not recently shown in the U.S.

Jacqueline Rosenberg - Tripping the light Fantastic

Tripping the Light Fantastic: The Fine Art Photography Exhibition
Reception: Thursday, November 29, 2007 6-8 PM
Exhibition Dates: 11/20/2007 - 12/11/2007

Agora Gallery
530 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001

Shut Down, Self Portrait
Mixed Media Print on Canvas, 23.4" x 15.6"

Mixed Media Print on Canvas, 46.8" x 31.2"

“The beauty of people in photography goes beyond the reality,” Jacqueline Rosenberg states, “but that's why we love it.” Rosenberg’s two decades as a fashion photographer served as a sort of vocational training for her artistic career; and her trade has now been fully converted into passion. She takes as her subject matter women of varying types—but all strong, all emancipated in their femininity. Before transferring her photos onto canvas, Rosenberg superimposes upon them images of beads, jewels, geometric figures, out-of-proportion body parts from other photos—a practice that results in framing the internal discourse of each piece, allotting a viewing experience that is more than the sum of its parts.

Her approach reminds one of Picasso and how his distortions were always meant to convey information, to guide the encounter. If there’s a message Rosenberg hopes to convey, it’s that we should accept people of all kinds, and that we ourselves should be* *independent and free in our self-expression, our passions, and our joys.

Alyssa Monks

November 1st - December 1st at DFN Gallery
210 11th Ave. 6th Floor
New York, 10001 USA


DFN Gallery is pleased to present “New Paintings” by Alyssa Monks. This exhibit includes large-scale paintings derived from old photographs of her family at play, as well as a series of small, abstract, partially submerged figures on panel.

In Monks’ familial images, children swim alone or interact with family members. Her use of photographs casts her as creator and observer, veering away from the abstracted forms seen in her small works. These more straight forward interpretations of bodies in water are reminiscent of David Hockney’s pool series. Together, the large scale paintings speak of personal relationships and underlying currents found in every family.

Monks small paintings are ambiguous, self portraits with compositions evocative of JoAnn Verburg’s cropped, black and white photographs of swimmers. Bodies appear angled, cropped, and distorted by reflections in the water and by the form breaking the surface in the panel pieces. Some figures are seen from an underwater perspective creating an almost unreadable form. The distorted body becomes abstract and reveals Monks visceral enjoyment of touching paintbrush to ground. Her love for color and luscious paint evokes the work of as Jenny Saville and Lucien Freud. According to Monks,

I’m challenging myself by using photographs that aren’t so clean and perfect because it forces me to be more painterly, to look at the abstract forms more and to become more free with the paint. I use the paint to create the water surface instead of drawing it in. It saves me from an almost photorealistic look because when you see them up close, they are actually loose and the paint is quite visible.

A MFA graduate of the New York Academy of Art, Alyssa Monks has trained with Vincent Desiderio, John Jacobsmeyer, and Deane Keller. She received her B.A., cum laude, from Boston College in 1999. The artist’s paintings have been exhibited nationally and can be found in many private collections. This is Monks’ second solo show at DFN Gallery.

An opening reception for the artist will be held on
Thursday, November 1st, from 6-8 pm.

Georges Seurat: The Drawings at MOMA

Georges Seurat: The Drawings
October 28, 2007–January 7, 2008

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street,
between Fifth and Sixth avenues
New York, NY 10019-5497

Once described as "the most beautiful painter's drawings in existence," Georges Seurat's mysterious and luminous works on paper played a crucial role in his short, vibrant career. This comprehensive exhibition—the first in almost twenty-five years to focus exclusively on Seurat's drawings—will present over 135 works, primarily the artist's incomparable conté drawings along with a small selection of oil sketches and paintings. Surveying the artist's entire oeuvre, from his academic training through the emergence and elaboration of his unique methods to the studies made for his monumental canvases (such as the renowned A Sunday on La Grande Jatte), the exhibition will also present important new research on his artistic strategies and materials.

In bridging description and evocation, Seurat masses tones to abstract figures, weaves skeins of conté crayon to test the limits of decipherable space, and engages with the Parisian metropolis, illuminating urban types, revealing the ever-expanding industrial suburbs, and offering a tour through the world of nineteenth-century popular entertainment. Most of all, his dramatization of the relationship between light and shadow resulted in a distinct body of work. Though Seurat is perhaps best known as the inventor of pointillism, this exhibition will demonstrate his tremendous achievement as a draftsman and the significance of his working methods and themes for the art of the twentieth century.

Kara Walker - My Complement, My Enemies, My Opressor, My love

Kara Walker Exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American

October 13th - February 3, 2008

Kara Walker, Darkytown Rebellion, 2001. Cut paper and projection on wall, 14 x 37 ft. (4.3 x 11.3 m) overall. Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg. Photograph courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

At her New York debut at the Drawing Center in 1994, Kara Walker unveiled a daring reinvention of image-making in which she incorporated the genteel eighteenth-century medium of cut-paper silhouettes into her paintings. Since that time, she has created a poignant body of works that addresses the very heart of human experience, notions of racial supremacy, and historical accuracy. This exhibition presents a comprehensive grouping of the artist’s work to date, featuring more than 200 paintings, drawings, collages, shadow-puppetry, light projections, and video animations that offer an extended contemplation on the nature of figurative representation and narrative in contemporary art.

Drawing her inspiration from sources as varied as the antebellum South, testimonial slave narratives, historical novels, and minstrel shows, Walker has invented a repertoire of powerful narratives in which she conflates fact and fiction to uncover the living roots of racial and gender bias. The intricacy of her imagination and her diligent command of art history have caused her silhouettes to cast shadows on conventional thinking about race representation in the context of discrimination, exclusion, sexual desire, and love. “It’s interesting that as soon as you start telling the story of racism, you start reliving the story,” Walker says. “You keep creating a monster that swallows you. But as long as there’s a Darfur, as long as there are people saying ‘Hey, you don’t belong here’ to others, it only seems realistic to continue investigating the terrain of racism.”

About Kara Walker -

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969. At the age of 13, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, when her father took a teaching position at Georgia State University. The move from an integrated California to a part of the country with pronounced racial divisions had a profound effect on the artist. “I became black in more senses than just the kind of multicultural acceptance that I grew up with in California. Blackness became a very loaded subject, a very loaded thing to be—all about forbidden passions and desires, and all about a history that’s still living, very present . . . the shame of the South and the shame of the South’s past; its legacy and its contemporary troubles.” After receiving a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991, Walker moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to pursue an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Since that time, she has created more than 30 room-size installations and hundreds of drawings and watercolors, and has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award (1997) and, most recently, the Deutsche Bank Prize (2004) and the Larry Aldrich Award (2005). She was the United States representative for the 25th International São Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2002). She currently lives in New York, where she is associate professor of visual arts at Columbia University, New York.

Woman Convicted of Kissing Painting

AVIGNON, France (AP) — A woman who left a lipstick kiss on an all-white painting by the American artist Cy Twombly was convicted Friday of "voluntarily damaging a work of art" and ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

The court in Avignon, southern France, also ordered Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old artist of Cambodian origin who lives in France, to pay damages. She must hand over $1,465 to the painting's owner, $730 to the Avignon gallery that showed it and $1.50 to the painter.

The owner, Yvon Lambert, had asked for more than $2.9 million in damages, which included the value of the painting and the $47,000 restoration cost.

During the trial, Sam argued that she had committed an "act of love" — not vandalism. "I didn't think," she said last month. "When I kissed it, I thought the artist would have understood."

Sam was taken into custody after she kissed the painting at an exhibit in Avignon on July 19.

Twombly is known for abstract paintings, some of which use repetitive lines, graffiti, letters and words. Born in Lexington, Va., in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Person’s Trash Is Another Person’s Lost Masterpiece -Rufino

Published: October 23, 2007

It’s hardly a place you would expect to find a $1 million painting.

But one March morning four years ago, Elizabeth Gibson was on her way to get coffee, as usual, when she spotted a large and colorful abstract canvas nestled between two big garbage bags in front of the Alexandria, an apartment building on the northwest corner of Broadway and 72nd Street in Manhattan.

“I had a real debate with myself,” said Ms. Gibson, a writer and self-professed Dumpster diver. “I almost left it there because it was so big, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why are you taking this back to your crammed apartment?’”

But, she said, she felt she simply had to have the 38-by-51-inch painting, because “it had a strange power.”

Art experts would agree with her. As it turns out, the painting was “Three People,” a 1970 canvas by the celebrated 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo that was stolen 20 years ago and is the subject of an F.B.I. investigation.

Experts say the painting — a largely abstract depiction of a man, a woman and an androgynous figure in vibrant purples, oranges and yellows — is in miraculously good condition and worth about $1 million. On Nov. 20 it is to go on the block at Sotheby’s as one of the highlights of a Latin American art auction.

Ms. Gibson said she did not suspect that the painting had any commercial value when she found it. “I am not a modern-art aficionado,” she said. “It was so overpowering, yet it had a cheap frame.”

The painting had been missing for so long that the owners, a married couple whom Sotheby’s would not identify, had long since given up hope of ever seeing it again. The husband, a Houston collector and businessman, had purchased “Three People” at a Sotheby’s auction in 1977 as a birthday present for his wife. He paid $55,000 for it.

Ten years later, when the couple were in the midst of moving from a house to an apartment in Houston, they put the painting into storage at a local warehouse. It was there that it disappeared.

The couple reported the theft to the local and federal authorities, and an image was posted on the databases of the International Foundation for Art Research and the Art Loss Register. They also offered a $15,000 reward to anyone who could help them recover it. But no credible leads surfaced.

The couple later moved to South America, and the husband died. It is his widow who is putting the painting on the market.

How “Three People” got from a Houston warehouse 20 years ago to the streets of New York remains a mystery. The painting’s disappearance so troubled August Uribe, an expert at Sotheby’s, that he volunteered to appear on “Antiques Roadshow” in a “Missing Masterpieces” segment in May 2005.

Ms. Gibson had hung the painting in her living room, but remained curious about it. She had gone back to the Alexandria the day after taking it home and asked the doormen there if anyone could tell her who had put it on the street.

“No one remembered anything,” she said. “All they said was that 20 minutes after I took it, the garbage truck arrived. This was truly an appointment with destiny.”

It took three years for her to realize that she possessed a stolen painting.

A few months after she hung it in her apartment, she said, she called a friend who had worked at an auction house and described the painting to him. “He asked me if it had a signature,” she recalled. It did. In the upper right-hand corner the artist had signed it “Tamayo 0-70.”

But her friend did not seem very interested in her discovery, she said.

More time passed, and one day she removed the painting from the wall and examined the back. There she saw several stickers — one from the Perls Gallery in Manhattan, now closed; another from the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris, where it had been exhibited in 1974; and a third from the Richard Feigen Gallery in Manhattan.

She called the Feigen gallery and told someone there about all the information on the labels. Days later, she said, the gallery called back to say it had no record of the painting.

A year or so after that, she said, she told another friend about the painting. “He showed me a Sotheby’s catalog where a Tamayo had sold for $500,000,” she recalled. He also went to the library and came back with a pile of books on the artist. One — a 1974 monograph of his work by Emily Genauer — had her painting on the cover. “I was stunned,” Ms. Gibson said.

She made an appointment to do more research at the Frick Art Reference Library, at the Frick Collection on East 70th Street. A librarian there directed her to the nearby Mary-Anne Martin gallery, which specializes in Latin American art.

She walked three blocks to the gallery, where she says she was told by someone that it was a “famously stolen” painting. “I was in a state of shock,” she said.

Realizing that she might have something very valuable, Ms. Gibson built a false wall in her closet to conceal the painting, carefully wrapping it in old shower curtains. After Googling the artist’s name, she discovered an image of “Three People” at the “Antiques Roadshow” Web site in reference to the “Missing Masterpieces” segment.

Searching the Web in May, she discovered that the episode would be rebroadcast the next day in Baltimore. She traveled to Baltimore by bus and checked into a hotel to watch the segment.

“It was very nail-biting, but the moment I saw it, I knew it was my painting,” she said.

Upon returning to New York, she immediately called Sotheby’s and made an appointment to see Mr. Uribe. “Just call me a Mystery Woman,” she says she told his office, not wanting to reveal her story until she was face to face with Mr. Uribe. She asked a minister from her church, the First Church of Religious Science, to accompany her and introduced herself as Mrs. Green.

“I asked her to describe the painting,” Mr. Uribe recalled. “And when she said it had a sandy surface, I knew it was the painting.” (Tamayo frequently ground sand and marble into his paint.) She also told Mr. Uribe about the stickers on the back, which offered further confirmation that she had the real thing.

Mr. Uribe visited Ms. Gibson’s Upper West Side apartment, and she began dismantling the false wall. “I saw only a corner of the canvas, yet I knew it was the painting,” he said. “The colors and surface were unique to Tamayo.”

Ms. Gibson will receive the promised $15,000 reward from the seller, as well as a smaller finder’s fee from Sotheby’s, which the auction house declined to disclose.

Sotheby’s informed the F.B.I. that “Three People” had been found. James Wynne, the agent in charge of the case, said that because a criminal investigation was continuing, he could not discuss whether the agency had any clues to who stole the work years ago.

“Finding a $1 million painting in the garbage is very unusual,” Mr. Wynne said. “It’s a real New York story.”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Frank Stella

On view is an installation of recent works in stainless steel and carbon fiber by the prolific American artist Frank Stella (b. 1936). Since his first showings in New York in the late 1950s, Stella has occupied a prominent place among leading artists and has continued to expand the boundaries of what abstract painting and sculpture can be. This exhibition, in tandem with Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture, on view through July 29, marks the artist's first solo presentation at the Metropolitan. It is set in the most dramatic outdoor space for sculpture in New York City: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, which offers spectacular views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Christie's and the Bogus Basquiat

One would think that dropping some serious cash at a high end auction house would be a safe bet. Today it's being reported that an art dealer in Chelsea did just that and ended up with a counterfeit piece! Christie's is now being faced with a $7 million lawsuit that charges them with knowingly selling the art dealer a fake Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. Page Six reports:

Tony Shafrazi, who was Basquiat's primary dealer, says he bought the 1982 untitled piece from Christie's in 1990 for $242,000, and resold it a year later to collector Guido Orsi.

In his suit filed this month in Manhattan Supreme Court, the Iranian-born dealer, who has a gallery on West 26th Street, claims Christie's knew the painting was a fraud - having been told so earlier by the artist's Haitian father, Gerard Jean-Baptiste Basquiat - but sold it anyway.

The Brooklyn-born artist's pieces are worth a lot these days, and recently an untitled 1981 work sold at Sotheby's for $14.6 million. The case arose after a Basquiat authentication committee rejected the we sort of wonder if they got some ideas from the Warhol committee.

Christie's and the Bogus Basquiat

One would think that dropping some serious cash at a high end auction house would be a safe bet. Today it's being reported that an art dealer in Chelsea did just that and ended up with a counterfeit piece! Christie's is now being faced with a $7 million lawsuit that charges them with knowingly selling the art dealer a fake Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. Page Six reports:

Tony Shafrazi, who was Basquiat's primary dealer, says he bought the 1982 untitled piece from Christie's in 1990 for $242,000, and resold it a year later to collector Guido Orsi.

In his suit filed this month in Manhattan Supreme Court, the Iranian-born dealer, who has a gallery on West 26th Street, claims Christie's knew the painting was a fraud - having been told so earlier by the artist's Haitian father, Gerard Jean-Baptiste Basquiat - but sold it anyway.

The Brooklyn-born artist's pieces are worth a lot these days, and recently an untitled 1981 work sold at Sotheby's for $14.6 million. The case arose after a Basquiat authentication committee rejected the we sort of wonder if they got some ideas from the Warhol committee.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

At The Art Parade

Saturday, we headed to the 3rd Annual Art Parade, an event that manages to make West Broadway a little more colorful for a few hours each year. The scene is one that hearkens back to 19th century surrealism while overflowing with modern day statements.

Almost doubling in size from its first year, the parade on Saturday boasted about 800 contributors. The Village Voice has more on the history of the event, and one main difference this year was that the usual post-parade party on Wooster Street outside of Deitch didn't take place. The police and mysterious parade officials quickly cleared the block, and the after-party was held at the Delancey.

More photos (by John Del Signore) after the jump...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Art of Latte

I came across this video on I never knew you could have so much fun making cafe latte.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Encampment: Roosevelt Island's Past, Illuminated

This October, artist Thom Sokoloski will build 100 white tents on Roosevelt Island, and the public will be able to see the illuminated tents at night as well as explore what's in them. The project is called The Encampment and here is a description the website:

The Encampment is a large-scale public participatory art installation. 100 - 19th century luminous tents will be erected as a work of optical art on Roosevelt's Island Southpoint. From 7pm to 7am each night, New Yorkers will be able to view the luminous symmetries of the tents from both sides of the East River, as well as visit the actual site and experience the installations in each of the tents. It proposes an archaeological dig as its metaphor; the search for artifacts is replaced by the search for a collective memory of Roosevelt Island.
Sokoloski told Metro that Roosevelt Island's past, filled with hospitals, lunatic asylum and other facilities, inspired him, "When you go deep the history is so fascinating. This will be a kind of digital archaeology, a model of exchange where the community will uncover the stories of the island’s past.” He also calls it "a metaphorical, archaeological dig into the history of mental health."

On his website, he is asking for both patrons to sponsor the project ($250 per tent) and other people to collaborate. The project will run October 5-7, during Open House New York. [This is also a good time to mention that this year's Open House New York is looking for volunteers; for more information, go to their website.]

And Sokoloski is also working on a 2008 project for Governor's Island. Called Babel Symphony, it would "re-discover that one language of humanity and to re-build the Tower of Babel through a choral and symphonic arrangement of New York City’s spoken languages."

By Jen Chung in Art

Monday, August 13, 2007

New York Artist Elizabeth Murray Dies at 66

New York artist Elizabeth Murray (who split her time between Tribeca and Washington County, NY) died yesterday after a battle with cancer at the age of 66. Her husband (with whom she had several children), Bob Holman, is the founder of the Bowery Poetry Club.

Moving to New York in 1967, she was inspired by work of many artists including Richard Serra. By 1973 she had her first solo show at the Paula Cooper Gallery in SoHo, with many accomplishments to follow (the NY Times has a good recap here). In 1999 she was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant; and just last year there was a retrospective at MoMA covering her 40-year career, something not many women have been honored with.

Murray "reshaped Modernist abstraction into a high-spirited, cartoon-based, language of form whose subjects included domestic life, relationships and the nature of painting itself." In the '80s and '90s she brought her brand of art underground when she designed two large murals for the subway system, one at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue and the other at the 23rd Street-Ely Avenue Station.

Photos via t_a_i_s's flickr

Friday, August 10, 2007

From girl to anime

I this from - awesome

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Judith Supine Takes Over The Manhattan Bridge

Our sources on the Manhattan Bridge report that at 11:40am, Judith Supine dropped a massive 50' piece over the side facing south. This might be the biggest development in NYC bridge graffiti since Sane/Smith tagged the outside of the Brooklyn Bridge in the late-1980s! The best place to view the piece is from Empire State Park in DUMBO.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Artist Jeremy Blake's Body Identified

Late last month, after the death of his girlfriend Theresa Duncan, witnesses saw Jeremy Blake walk in to the water around Beach 102nd Street. The 35-year old East Village artist left a suicide note (along with clothes and a wallet) under the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach. His body was found on July 22nd off of Sea Girt, NJ, five days after he was last seen. Yesterday the body was identified as Blake's.

Police spokesman Paul J. Browne says the cause of death was presumed to be suicide. Duncan had also committed suicide just one week before, on July 10th - something Blake referenced in his final letter. While some are calling this a modern day Romeo and Juliet story, others are saying there is more to be unearthed, namely that the couple was adamant in their belief they were being stalked by Scientologists. This may sound "out there" until you read some of Duncan's blog entries documenting their encounters.

Blake asked Glenn O'Brien to write a final post on his girlfriend's blog after her death, which has now been published. Meanwhile, a new work in progress by Blake and Malcolm McLaren called “Glitterbest” was to be shown at an exhibit of his work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington this fall. As of now, the older pieces will still be shown and it's unclear what will happen to the new collaborative piece.

Photo by Autumn de Wilde.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kanye West And Takashi Murakami - oh mind


Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has teamed up with hip-hop star Kanye West for a variety of projects centering around West’s upcoming album Graduation, due to be released on Sept. 11, 2007. The first two singles from the album, Can’t Tell Me Nothing and Stronger, already feature Murakami artworks as covers -- the former a grimacing head made of neon coils, and the latter a rendering of West’s bear mascot with two helmeted robots floating nearby (representing the band Daft Punk, which is sampled on the track). West told that Murakami also did a three-minute animation for one of the songs on Graduation.

Though he’s living the life of a Grammy-winning hip-hop star, West seems to have a real admiration for Murakami’s lifestyle, describing him as "a god in the art world." During a recent tour of Japan, West visited the artist’s Kaikai Kiki studio and took his own souvenir snapshots of Hiropon, Murakami’s life-sized sculpture of a bosomy anime pinup. The two men had their photo taken posing in front of the work, an image that is part of an illustrated report by Akiko Kato on the Kaikai Kiki website.

"Murakami, his work has been stunning to me," said West in an MTV interview. "Every single that’s coming out for my album, he did the artwork for the covers. . . . And all the merchandising for the new album is Murakami."

The admiration, apparently, is mutual. During his stop at the studio, West showed off a diamond-encrusted crucifix that he had designed himself -- "Breathtaking," wrote Kato, "Christ’s eyes shined blue" -- and then went on to sketch an idea for another amulet design. West asked Murakami to add eyes to the drawing, and "an unexpected collaboration was born!" The sketch was clearly the inspiration for the neon creature from Murakami’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing cover, and the necklace West wears in the Can’t Tell Me Nothing video looks like the Kaikai Kiki drawing.

"We think that he [West] and Takashi share this eerie ability to concentrate and approach everything with utmost seriousness," Kato concludes. The report also hints at another common interest between the two superstars -- Louis Vuitton, whose brand Murakami famously revitalized several years ago. West entered Murakami’s studio wearing a colored Vuitton pouch. Both of the rapper’s new singles refer to the luxury handbag maker (Can’t Tell Me Nothing includes the words "And what’d I do? Act more stupidly/Bought more jewelry, more Louis V;" and Stronger includes the lyric "I’m caught up in the moment, right?/This is Louis Vuitton dime night.")

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Public Art for the Pier

In December the Hudson River Trust announced two new pieces of art being installed at an (also new) northern Chelsea park (at Pier 66), one being a giant waterwheel. The wheel is currently installed at the end of Pier 66 near 25th Street and was inaugurated at a ceremony yesterday. It uses the river's changing tide to power an odometer which has been functioning since April.

Paul Rimirez Jonas is the mastermind behind the wheel, which is about 30-feet in diameter and serves as "a reminder of the Hudson River’s milling history." Jonas is a local artist who explained, "although it was created with the improbable goal of marking the duration of our lives, species, civilizations, and even the planet, its more immediate intent is to place human existence within a geologic time frame." The time frame to make his creation a reality has been seven years! He began in 2000, working with marine engineers and a whole lot of imagination.

The other piece of public art now on display is "Two Too Large Tables" by artists Allan and Ellen Wexler. Their stainless steel and wood pieces resemble a community table (with chairs) and a pavillion - all of which are larger than life. In total the Trust has commisioned seven works of art for the new parks, and promises more to come.

Faye's Random Summer Picks

Ladies, check out I found this in the newspaper-I think. It's cheap and fabulous.

The hottest eco-friendly "I'm not a Plastic bag " canvas bag this summer designed by Anya Hindmarch. It's only like 15 bucks. I went to get one last Wednesday but the was sold out. Apparently, a lot of people were waiting outside all night in the rain for the bag and it was sold out like in 30 mins. It's limited edition. It's already banned in China because people in Hong Kong were trampled over just for the bag and they don't want that to happen in China. Craziness. They should just write, "I'm going to die for this bag".

For all you outdoor people that love to go out for picnic with friends and love ones. is a fun website. It's lightweight and it's waterproof on the exterior part.. This metrobag costs only 30 bucks.

I found this cutesy ring at I wouldn't buy it but I thought it was cute.

I want this tshirt "I have a body of a god" in babytee. I saw this ad on Myspace when you sign addicitve site. I'm trying to find the shirt that says, "I'm so excited, I'm so scared" with an image of a pill - priceless.