Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another train sketch artist

I came across a section in my daily metro on February 12. Cully Thomas, a freelance set designer, find his love sketching subway riders in the train. It started two years ago when he landed on a job and moving to New York city where he decided to show us the life in the train. Using his 3x5 and a ballpoint pen and sketch it away. Few people made feel awkward and then ignored the fact that a man is sketching them. All his works are in and his blog.

Christie's sued over stolen art

Martin Lawrence Galleries has sued Christe's auction house and a Brooklyn resident in an effort to recover a $100,000 Andy Warhol painting that the gallery reported stolen nearly 10 years ago. Warhol's "Dollar Sign" was reported stolen in 1998. In 2006, a "dollar Sign" series painting sold in London. In September 2007, Jason Beltrez tried to cosign the artwork to Christie's for sale, but the auction house uncovered that it had been stolen.

Rihanna loves art

Rihanna, pop singer with her number 1 hits with "Umbrella" and "Can't stop the music" loves art AND fat boys!

Rihanna bought $35,000 worth of art from Todd Goldman as a birthday present to herself.

The Umbrella diva is sending half to her New York apartment and keeping the other half in her Los Angeles home.

She bought several paintings. They are:

"Fat kids are harder to kidnap"
"Goodbye kitty in a microwave"
"Gold digger like a hooker just smarter"
"My mom says not to run scissors"
"Barbie is a slut"
"A salt with a deadly

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cai Guo-Qiang Suspends Disbelief, and Cars, at the Guggenheim

Everyone's bursting with anticipation for the opening of Cai Guo-Qiang's new exhibit at the Guggenheim; the site-specific installation serves as a mid-career retrospective and is now just four short days away from being unveiled.

The NY Times has a lengthy profile of the artist (who has lived in New York since 1995) which begins with this insight: "his favorite artistic moment is the pregnant pause between the lighting of the fuse and the detonation of the gunpowder." Thus a partial explanation of his use of ancient Chinese gunpowder in his work; Cai further explains, "One reason I chose gunpowder is that I had the good luck in my environment to be exposed to gunpowder. The other reason is I was always looking for a visual language that goes beyond the boundary of nations, and so I found gunpowder.”

That's not all you will take in at his show, however, The Post reports that "other mind-boggling works feature 99 life-size, stuffed replicas of wolves charging over viewers' heads headlong into a glass wall." Another piece, titled "Inopportune: Stage One," acts as a centerpiece -- illuminated with LED lights as it dangles above the fragile onlookers below.

With more than 80 works, the installation -- which takes up most of the museum -- is called "I Want to Believe," something Cai says is a nod to suspending disbelief. See how the large pieces were installed here, then see them for yourself -- the show runs through through May 28.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Jasper Johns Comes Back to New York

Jasper Johns, a South Carolina native currently residing in Connecticut, first came to New York City in 1949 when he (briefly) attended Parsons School of Design. In 1954 he painted his first flag picture, and by 1958 he had his first one-man exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Today, The Met's director Philippe de Montebello states fact as the artist's new exhibit at the museum opens, saying "Without question, Jasper Johns is one of the greatest artists of our era."

The show, Jasper Johns: Gray, opened on February 5th and runs through May 4th. It's comprised of 119 of the artist's works, including paintings, reliefs, drawings, prints, and sculptures; covering much of Johns career, you'll see works from 1959 to 2007. While the artist is best known for his work with bright colors, some say this exhibit is showing his true shade. The NY Times took a look at it and concluded that "it amplifies gray into a color spectrum all its own. And it illuminates 50 years of a life saved by, and lived for, the incessant pursuit of art."

Jen Carlson,

Meanwhile, The NY Sun's art critic, Lance Esplund, wasn't a fan of the exhibit, though he did recall a quote from famous playwright Samuel Beckett, who praised his friend Johns by saying, "No matter which way you turn you always come up against a stone wall. Hail to the master of the stone wall."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Subway Sketch

Amitai Plasse has been sketching his fellow straphangers for 11 years now, and has just begun getting his portraits online. His goal, he tells us, is to "try and capture the characters and scenes I encounter every
day on my travels." These remind us of faster-paced versions of what Marvin Franklin, the late subway track inspector/artist, had been creating all of his years underground.

By Jen Carlson in

New Woes Over Stolen Warhol

Everyone is abuzz about the latest art world scandal, and here's what is known about the life of the Warhol painting at the center of the controversy.

1981: Andy Warhol creates a number of his "Dollar Sign" pieces, using the same theme with different colors and sizes. Medium: polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas.
February 14th, 1998: One of the two "Dollar Sign" pieces measuring at 16 by 20 inches is reported stolen from the Martin Lawrence Gallery in SoHo.

Mid-1990s: Brooklynite Jason Beltrez purchases a "Dollar Sign" for $180 at an open-air market in New Jersey, claiming he didn't know it was a Warhol.

February 2006: One "Dollar Sign" is sold for $4.5 million in London.

September 2007: Beltrez brings his Warhol to Christie's after a friend tells him it might be by "the Campbell's Soup guy."

The NY Times is painting Beltrez darker than most papers, mentioning his hard-knock life, unemployed status, and recent rehab stint. Apparently Christie's was suspicious when he brought the Warhol in, saying there was "something about this particular art lover."
Christie's accepted the painting and contacted the Art Loss Register immediately. The databank of lost and stolen art confirmed it was legit, and now Martin Lawrence Gallery is suing Beltrez, who in turn has gotten himself a lawyer. Beltrez says he's an honest man and is employing the law of the street: "finders keepers, losers weepers." For that, we sort of hope he wins. The law seems to be against him though (experts say the law protects the gallery), and there are some unfortunate coincidences that aren't going to make it easy for him to win. For one, Beltrez was raised near the gallery the Warhol was stolen from, and records show he was still at that address at the time.

No criminal charges have been filed yet but the NYPD is still investigating. Mr. Beltrez speaks out saying, “This country is only fair for people lined in green. I know I’m the good guy.” He also told The NY Post, "This is a civil case, not a criminal case. They're trying to smear me. It's a classic case of a conglomerate trying to screw the little guy." For now Christie's, who say they are a disinterested third party at this point, is holding the painting as the question of ownership goes to the courts.

Our favorite "finders keepers, losers weepers" story about stolen artwork involves the Manhattan woman who found a valuable piece of artwork on the street.

By -Jen Carlson