Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stolen Picasso Paintings - Worth 66 million


Maya and Doll

PARIS - At least two Picasso paintings, worth a total of nearly $66 million, were stolen from the artist's granddaughter's house in Paris, police said Wednesday.

The paintings, "Maya and the Doll" and "Portrait of Jacqueline," disappeared overnight Monday to Tuesday from the chic 7th arrondissement, or district, a Paris police official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said they were worth nearly $66 million, and that there were signs of breaking and entering in the house.

Though police only mentioned the two paintings, the director of the Picasso Museum, Anne Baldassari, said several paintings and drawings were stolen from the home of Diana Widmaier-Picasso.

"It was a very large theft," she said, without giving details.

"Maya and the Doll" is a colorful portrait of a young blonde girl in pigtails, eyes askew in a Cubist perspective. Another version of the painting hangs in the Picasso Museum. It portrays Maya Widmaier, the daughter of Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter, his companion from 1924-1944.

Maya married Pierre Widmaier had three children, Olivier, Richard and Diana Widmaier-Picasso, an art historian and author of a book called "Art Can Only be Erotic."

No other details of the theft were immediately available.

The Art Loss Register, which maintains the world's largest database on stolen, missing and looted art, currently lists 444 missing Picasso pieces, including paintings, lithographs, drawings and ceramics.

Among recent missing Picassos reported to the register was the theft of an abstract watercolor stolen in Mexico, said staff member Antonia Kimbell.

The number of missing Picassos is so high simply because Picasso was so prolific, Kimbell said. She said the Paris theft was "definitely quite significant."

"Anything of particularly good quality, with the provenance of his granddaughter, would reach considerable value on the open market," Kimbell said.

But major pieces, when stolen, usually sell for a pittance, if at all, on the black market because potential buyers are afraid to touch them.

"It's unlikely a legitimate dealer would purchase or acquire any of these pieces," Kimbell said.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

David LaChapelle at Soho

David LaChapelle signs at Store NY, February 22nd from 6-8pm.
The TASCHEN Store in New York held its first public event this evening with David LaChapelle who graciously signed copies of Heaven to Hell for every person waiting in line. More than 300 people stood patiently in the drizzling rain to meet David, but not without receiving a cup of hot chocolate and an invitation to party with David later that night at an exclusive Manhattan nightclub.

"My pictures are about getting as far away from reality as possible. Dreams should be part of our everyday life." -DLaC

Tupac Shakur, Becoming Clean

Naomi Campbell, Have you seen me? , New York 1999

Free Consultation, Surgery Story, New York 1997

Lil Kim Luxury Item

Kate Holden 2/13/2007

I went to Barnes and Noble in Astor Place to attend Kate Holden book reading of her new book, In my Skin". My friend came along with me to listen to her story as a middle class female working as a prostitute to pay for her Heorin addiction. With her awesome Australian accent, she stood her head up without any embarassment as she talked in details of her lifestyle. She conveys her life as a prostitute and a heroin addict in a positive way compared to other books that demean these aspects. With supportive family, she managed to overcome the odds and graduated from college with a degree in literature related field and completed her masters in creative writing.

She read the first paragraph of her book as she described the many men she encountered, such as business men to married men. And how the men become needy and weak when they are with a female. She also stated the reason for going into the profession was the lack of self esteem they had developed. She had become a successful and lucrative female in the business.

Her supportive profession and her colleagues were the one that inspired her to write the memoir. And that is how "in my skin" was published.

I spoke to her a little bit and had my book signed by her. She is friendly and funny. I will start to read the book.


Q&A with Kate Holden

Kate Holden is the author of In My Skin, a searingly honest and wonderfully written account of a life on the streets, on drugs and on the skids.

What made you decide to write so frankly about your experiences as a heroin addict and a prostitute?

I was aware of the amazing opportunity I was experiencing, in terms of working in a brothel and meeting people in a uniquely intimate way; it seemed like a gold mine for a writer. And then I felt very strongly that most people only receive distorted and negative media images of heroin addicts and prostitutes, and someone should write a more realistic depiction.

Was it difficult to make the decision to introduce yourself to the literary world by writing about that time in your life?

Don’t all writers like to talk about themselves? While I might have liked to begin with a novel, my own story seemed to be brimming in me, and the enthusiasm I had for writing it led the book almost to write itself.

Where do you stand on the prostitution debate? Do you think it’s empowering or exploitative (or neither)?

I think it’s simplistic to talk of ‘prostitution’ without distinguishing between the different types and situations. I cannot think of many things worse than forced or coerced prostitution, which too frequently occurs in the illegal brothels and on the street, but a safe and willing prostitute can have either a positive or negative experience, depending on her attitude and situation. I don’t believe prostitution itself is inherently exploitative, but it can be. I found my own experience, ultimately, empowering.

How do you think your experiences have affected the person you are today?

I am much less fearful of people. Having seen powerful men naked and needy, and humbled women proud, I understand, I think, that people are mostly good, if sometimes weak. Once I’d confronted the fact that there was darkness inside me I didn’t recognise, I also found new ways to be proud of myself. In a way, I’m more confident in the world, and at the same time, strangely, somehow more idealistic.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m devouring Christos Tsiolkos’ Dead Europe, which is savage, compelling, and exquisitely disturbing. It’s the novel I wish I had written.

As a former bookseller yourself, what would you say to a customer who asked you why they should read your book?

Hah! If I had a customer with me (and it always depends on who the customer is), I’d say it’s a good read if you want an excursion into a darker side of Australian urban life, and that the author does a nice turn in the use of semi-colons.

What is your life like now? What are you working on?

At the moment I’m completing a Master’s degree in creative writing, for which I’m working on a novel set in England, trying to reconcile my interest in British folklore, ghosts, erotica, and the legacy of British culture in Australia. I live in Melbourne and have a social life that involves a lot of coffee.