22 Dec 2006 - 24 Hour Line
Gallery Aferro has invited artist Ryan Brown to administer the creation of a “48 Hour Line” from 1/11/07 12:00pm to 1/13/07 12:00pm. For this entire period of 48 hours, Ryan, and colleagues from his artist collective ‘The 17th Street Tribe”, will be visible in the front window of the gallery. All are welcome to visit them, at any hour of day or night.
“48 Hour Line” will involve continuously moving a pencil over the walls of the gallery’s front platform without stopping or lifting for forty-eight hours. The line will be made using large graphite sticks. In order to facilitate the transfer of the pencil between participants, it will be necessary for both people to handle the pencil simultaneously after which the passer will slowly remove his or her hand.
Ryan has asked his colleagues in the 17th St Tribe Artist Coalition to assist him and share in the responsibility of keeping the project moving. Members of the community are also more than welcome to leave their mark. You may draw for one minute, or hours as you wish. During the entire performance, which will begin 1200pm Thursday Jan 11 and will conclude 12:00pm Saturday Jan 13, there will be an open call for volunteers who would like to contribute.
This opportunity will serve as a means to establish a community of individuals who are intent on accomplishing a common goal.
Due to the extended hours of the performance those who wish to sleep over must provide their own accommodations including sleeping mats, pillows, blankets, etc., as well as necessary food rations.
Gallery Aferro is located at 73 Market Street, Newark, New Jersey, just minutes from Manhattan by train. Newark is the new mecca of artists from New York, Jersey City and Hoboken and is a fast growing art scene. Newark is home to the Newark Artist’s Collective, several exhibition spaces, as well as WBGO, the only full time classic Jazz radio station in the New York area. One great plus of Gallery Aferro is close proximity (walking distance) from the Iberian culinary delights of the Portughese/Spanish neighborhood known as the IronBound.
Gabriele “Il Vate” D’Annunzio stated “one must live their life as one creates a work of art.” Robert Volpe, who was an artist, an art lover, and a NYPD art theft investigator, lived his art and life in a seamless unity, never separating any aspect of his life or police job from his art. Indeed, if Il Vate’s life was a fine work of art, Robert’s life was a priceless masterpiece. He once stated that a cop’s beat was a stage and every shift was a spectacular event. This can be seen in his many antics, such as the first time he met Salvador Dali’. Dali stared at Bobby and twirled the end of his handlebar moustache; “The Art Cop” in turn stared back, twirling his stylish moustache! Another example, recounted to me by Bobby, was when he was collecting junk on garbage nights to utilize in sculptures; Internal affairs followed him because they thought his “garbage picking” was unusual behavior; or when he was placed in a strategic surveillance position on the water front posing as an artist with an easel. The criminal targets moved and Bobby, hypnotized by the painting he was creating, missed the movement. Art was always his first priority.
15 Dec 2006 - Congratulations Chopper! Christian "Chopper" Happel at his art exhibition on 21st St. Christian, who I refer to as "ChopShop", is a positive creative force in the world!
15 Dec 2006 - 11 Spring St and Wooster Collective!
Every now and then, the Met, the Guggenheim, and the MoMA hold blockbuster art exhibits that create an exciting buzz, beckoning art lovers from all over the New York tri-state area to spend time waiting in long lines to view breathtaking works of art. Today, at 11 Spring St., these museums have been outdone, in respect to the art exhibited, as well as the long lines. Curious art lovers waited patiently in long lines that stretched as far as two blocks at times and the experience was well worth the wait.
The graffiti and street art inside and out of 11 Spring St was exciting, alive, and energetic. This historical gathering of street artists, from the pioneers like Blek Le Rat, to younger artists like Swoon, and French sculptor Prune, was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience their collective creative force, which possesses the same amount of energy as a small celestial star. This show was made possible by the outstanding work and collaboration of Caroline Cummings and Bill Elias, of Elias Cummings Development Group, and Marc and Sara of Wooster Collective.
All of the art work has been thoroughly documented and can be seen at www.woostercollective.com.
We wish all the best to Blek Le Rat, the greatest artist in Paris! You may view his outstanding street art, created consistently over three decades in the City of Lights, at http://blekmyvibe.free.fr/ and http://bleklerat.free.fr .
The art work of Prune may be viewed at www.prune-art.com.
13 Dec 2006 - Wooster on Spring Street
There is an incredible once in a lifetime exhibition of street and graffiti art being held at 11 Spring St on Dec 15, 16, and 17. The exhibition is a three day celebration of ephemeral art.
Some of the most famous street and graffiti artists in the world will be exhibiting their work and attending the shows: Blek LeRat, Swoon, Lady Pink, Shepard fairey, WK, Jace, David Ellis, FAILE, Cycle, London Police, Prune, JR, Speto, D*Face, JMR, John Fekner, Bo and Microbo, Above, BAST, Momo, Howard Goldkrand, Borf, Gaetane Michaux, Skewville, Michael DeFeo, Rene Gagnon, and many more.
The dates are Fri, Dec 15, Sat Dec 16, and Sun Dec 17, 11:00am to 5:00pm.
On Sunday, Dec 17 at 3:00pm, there will be a panel discussion with many of the artists attending.
Read more in depth news about this exhibition at: www.woostercollective.com.
10 Dec 2006 - Italian American Police Condemn Michael Brand's Arrogance and the Getty's Actions
We at the Italian American Police Society of New Jersey (IAPSNJ) condemn the Getty’s recent decision to break off negotiations with the Italian Ministry of Culture. The Getty possesses multiple treasures from antiquity that the Italian government insists were looted from Italy or transferred out of the country without the proper government documentation. The Italian government backs its claims with solid evidence that was gathered over ten years of investigations conducted by the Italian Carabinieri’s Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, a specialized art crimes investigative unit.
The IAPSNJ has an excellent relationship and the up most respect for the Italian police and Carabinieri. We are disheartened to learn that the Getty Museum is not being cooperative with the Carabinieri and Italian Ministry of Culture. We fully support the Italian Carabinieri and their efforts to fight cultural crimes that are being committed against their nation.
It is no longer acceptable for U.S. institutions to possess cultural property that was looted and smuggled out of other nations. We as U.S. police officials abhor the violation of laws, regardless of what nation the crime is being committed in. Our educational and cultural institutions, which actually represent our nation’s image on an international scale, are ran by our wealthiest, most influential citizens who should adhere to exemplary codes of conduct in their business transactions and uphold images of integrity and honor.
We at IAPSNJ respectfully request that the Getty Museum give the proper respect to Minister Rutelli, return to the negotiating table immediately, and repatriate Italy’s art treasures to her shores.
Betty Tompkins moved to SoHo, New York in 1969. Betty began a series of black and white air brush paintings called Joined Forms, which were cropped paintings of heterosexual intercourse. The artist states that in these paintings, created during this beginning era of feminism, she was deliberately appropriating the male gaze. She showed these works in various galleries in SoHo, including LoGuidice Gallery and Warren Benedek. In 1973, Betty was invited to exhibit in Guy Loudmer’s in Paris. This led to a ludicrous censorship by French Customs officials and a year of legal wrangling on the artist’s part to repatriate the art works.
Today Betty can smile on the 1973 event because her work has at last received the respect it deserves. Betty is represented by the Mitchell Algus Gallery in New York (she describes the owner of this gallery as the nicest most supportive of human beings), and has exhibited her work at the Lyon Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Galerie Rodolphe Jansen in Brussels, Galerie Sho in Tokyo, and Galerie Caratsch in Zurich who represents her work there, to name a few.
In this friendly interview, Betty, one of my all time favorite New York artists, discusses with me some of the most important issues facing the art world today, such as museum ethics in antiquities, censorship, and freedom of expression in an ever increasing ultra-conservative atmosphere.....
6 Dec 2006 - Auguri Ton Cremers and MSN List!
This December marks the 10th year anniversary of the Museum Security Network Mailing List. This list, directed by museum security expert Ton Cremers, is an invaluable asset in the fight to defend the world's cultural property. We hold Ton and his work in the highest esteem!
30 Nov 2006 - Robert Volpe: The esteemed veteran of art theft investigation.
The world has lost a true artist, a hero police officer, and one of the nicest gentlemen that New York City has ever produced. We are extremely saddened to announce that Robert Volpe, the NYPD’s art theft investigator from 1972 to 1983, died suddenly on Tuesday of a heart attack. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.
Robert had an amazing career that ran from undercover operations to art theft investigation. Robert made numerous recoveries of precious art works, always placing more importance on the recovery then on an arrest. He was viewed by many artists and gallery owners in New York as a guardian angel. Tod Volpe in his book “Framed” referred to Bobby as the Archangel. He was America’s first, and greatest, full time art theft investigators.
Bobby had many friends in the art world, including many famous artists. They knew he was a great detective, but it was more important to them that he was a true artist. Bobby was a sculptor and an incredible painter. His lovely wife, who he loved dearly, is an art teacher. Bobby had the honor of being elected as president of the Salmagundi Club at 47 5th Ave in New York and was loved and respected within its membership. Bobby was accepted by artists because he loved art and was one of them!
Everyone who knew Bobby Volpe will attest to one fact: he was one of the nicest guys that New York ever produced. He found assisting others to be a great pleasure and would always offer a sincere, helping hand.
Note: We find the New York Post’s 30 Nov write up about Bobby Volpe to be in very bad taste. Under a beautiful photo of Bobby is the Caption: “Robert Volpe: Dad of Louima cop”. The first line of the paragraph reads “Legendary retired Art detective.” We feel this is all that should be stated and is the reason the caption under our photo of Bobby reads: “Dedicated dad and husband, legendary detective”.
Bobby stayed by his son Justin’s side through all of his troubles. He talked about his son Justin every time we spoke and proved to be a loving, caring family man. While regretting Justin’s crime, he felt the sentence was too harsh for a first time offender and noted that murderers do less time. Bobby remained loyal and drove hundreds of miles a month to be at Justin’s side. Bobby told me: “I’m proud of my son, because he is strong and refuses to give up. We Volpe’s are strong.” He also told me he was proud of his son because after he entered the institution he was accepted by all, forging friendships with men of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. Bobby was a good loyal family man and he loved his son. No negative twists or digs should be attached to Bobby Volpe’s life story, only admiration.
26 November 2006
By: Chiara Zamin
In recent days the Getty Museum of Los Angeles has decided not to restitute the Aphrodite and the Victorious Youth, the two valuable statues placed on the list of the trafficked objects that ended up at Malibu.
In a long letter written to the Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli, the director of the California museum Michael Brand confirms the decision to return to Italy only 26 pieces, that as of now have been verified as imprudent acquisitions, but will not cede on the Venus of Morgantina and the bronze athlete attributed to Lisippo, observing that, according to Brand, “they are works that have been found in international waters” and therefore not Italian.
The letter from the Getty has inflamed the spirits of all at the Ministry, from archeologists, researchers, and investigators who are surfacing hidden truths........
The Toledo Museum Goya
The New York art community was very excited about the art exhibition Spanish Painting from El Greco to Picasso: Time, Truth, and History that will open on 17 November, 2006 at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan. The exact quote I received in a letter from the museum’s director, Lisa Dennison, billed the exhibition as “…one of the most exciting shows to date…The most comprehensive presentation of Spanish art ever assembled in the U.S., this exhibition will include 135 paintings by Spain’s greatest masters, including El Greco, Diego Velazquez, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro’, and Salvador Dali. With many rare works traveling from all over the globe…”. Unfortunately, when valuable art works are transported, they become vulnerable to art world villains.
The theft was discovered one week ago while being transported from the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio to the Guggenheim in Manhattan. The Toledo Museum said in a brief statement that the Spanish master’s work was stolen near Scranton, Pa. The painting was only insured for $1 million and will be very hard to sell on both the legitimate market as well as in the underworld. A general rule of thumb is that a stolen work will be sold for 10% of its real value, but well known art works by masters like Goya are virtually impossible to fence due to their notoriety and the amount of press coverage their theft receives internationally. The best option is definitely to deal with the insurance company, which will be happy to give a cash reward to ‘helpful’ parties to recover the work. The insurance company is more than happy to award a smaller sum than the work is covered for; the benefit for the ins co is obvious, but art lovers benefit as well- it would be a great tragedy if the painting is destined to end up like those stolen in the Gardner Museum heist in Boston, which may never be seen by the public again.
There is a reward of up to $50,000 being offered to anyone with information that leads to the recovery of this painting. If you have knowledge of this art works whereabouts and can be instrumental in its recovery it behooves you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Due to the insecure nature of the web, do not give any vital info in the e-mail, just use it for the initial contact. We are known in the underworld to be stand up guys who are fair, consistent, and operate in unconventional ways. Many operators in the art underworld do not trust the authorities and refuse to speak with uptight investigators who are stuffed in cheap k-mart suits and are only worried about making a collar. We at YourBrushWithTheLaw have slowly established our reputation as dedicated art lovers whose only concern is the recovery of the art works. Both your safety and confidentiality are guaranteed.
NOTE: It is illegal for culpable persons or parties involved with art crimes to receive cash pay outs. If you contact YourBrushWithTheLaw you must not admit guilt or involvement in any crime. We are not interested in who committed this crime, only how the precious work may be recovered.
10 November 2006 - Michel Van Rijn
BY RUDY PIETERS
Somewhere halfway through the interview his son rushes in. "Can I go to The
Da Vinci Code, Dad?" "Again? You have been already, darling." "It is a
fascinating film", answers his dear son. "All right then." Michel van Rijn
(56) has not even read the book yet but does not really have to; what Dan
Brown has made up on his PC the Dutch former art smuggler has experienced
all in real life.
no piece of antique or art to be found here. To be honest I am a little
disappointed, mister Van Rijn. In the art smuggler's den I would have at
least expected a Chagall on the wall.
an weird way of banking. A British journalist saw you open two safes at
Schiphol, one with 1 million dollars and one with 1 million guilders.
you solve that then?
salesman in you emerged early: when you were fifteen you opened your first
shop in Amsterdam, even though you did not really need the money.
how you earned your first money.
' I always had a love of art.
later you were already in Beirut.
forged things, which is a chapter in your biography that has always been
left aside somewhat.
correct that you sold one of your own works as one of Chagall's?
not an answer to my question.
rephrase: you had made the 'Chagall' yourself, you show it to Chagall as if
someone else offered it to you and Chagall says that it is not his.
sell that painting as a real Chagall, I take it.
crime you have met many people with 'an interesting story', as you call it
yourself. To you they are 'scoundrels, not criminals'. What is the
were only ever a scoundrel?
is how you too have gained your fortune: buy something and sell it the next
day for six times the amount.
come across criminals?
Cultrera, for example, your good friend from your time in Marbella.
But he is
be a member of the mafia without being a criminal?
poacher has now become a gamekeeper. Were things getting too hot for you?
have had you picked up.
mainly made your mark at the TEFAF in Maastricht in the Netherlands, the
most important art fair in the world, where you have launched your attacks.
For instance, you publicly exposed the Belgium top dealer Axel Vervoordt. He
offered a painting that the Nazis had stolen from a Jewish family.
have changed in the meantime. In 2001 the British dealer Adam Williams was
convicted of this.
continues, but less openly.
get very wound up about the trade in Nigerian Nok. Beautiful statues, two
thousand years old, they are on top of the list of endangered archaeological
heritage, but they are still for sale everywhere. In 2000 you attacked the
trader Emile Deletaille from Brussels very hard about that, also at the
no gangsters", says Deletaille shortly after your raid at the TEFAF to me.
If there is an export licence, then there is nothing illegal going on, he
now regarded as a pentito by a section of the art trade.
gamekeeper use the same tricks as the poacher used to do?
do you go?
documents, to name just one thing?
you get to deal with increasingly heavy guys. In The Mecca Manuscript, your
first crime novel, you portray Osama bin Laden as the biggest danger, also
in the art trade. You published the book back in 1999: it seems you knew
more than the CIA.
Der Spiegel revealed that the suicide pilot
Mohammed Atta had been peddling Afghan art in the months prior to 9/11. Such
a story will not surprise you then.
also been threatened with death. Where does the biggest danger come from?
Is it all
worth it for you?
trying to take it a little easier now and launch yourself as a crime novel
writer. The sales are not bad but your income still comes from the art
And the icon?
9 November 2006 - Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night...rage against the dying of the light
25 Oct 2006 - Hugh Eakin and Elisabetta Povoledo: Turning Up The Heat On The Illicit Antiquities Trade
The heat is on and the gig is up. Major U.S. Museums such as the Met are returning priceless art pieces to countries like Italy where they were looted from. The Getty is claiming to have implemented a new acquisitions policy. U.S. Museums from Boston to Los Angeles are being burned as they creep in Justice’s shadows in search of shade to relieve them from the sweltering torridness. These museums are hoping to survive this heat wave without being fingered, as other nations such as Greece step up to the goal to take their penalty kicks.
Who brought this heat down on the U.S. Museums? The obvious contribution is the Italian Carabinieri’s Tutela Patrimonio Culturale and the Italian judicial officials. The honorable work that these men and women have done will be lauded in Italia for ages. Their results have been given just recognition to this point in the story.
There is another source of heat that singed the unsavory museum curators and players in this drama- characters like Marion True and Robert Hecht. Journalists such as Hugh Eakins and Elisabetta Povoledo of the New York Times have relentlessly hammered the culpable, and often pompous, involved parties. By writing a succession of articles since the story first broke, they, and others of their colleagues in the press, have raised public awareness of the illicit antiquities scourge to the highest level ever. These stories of villains, greed, and scandal have been delivered daily to breakfast tables all over the world to be digested with the morning pastries and cappuccinos. These reporters’ efforts have been invaluable to the protection of the world’s patrimony. We at YourBrushWithTheLaw salute and sincerely thank you.
The honored Poet Blaise Cendrars once stated “Poetry is my heroin. I am drugged on the writer’s ink.” I hope that the daily fix of heat in art crimes and illicit antiquities trade reportage continues to make the cold, art world’s mercury rise; maybe in this art world version of global warming, it will one day become a tropical paradise.
Note: An incredible article on the Italian Carabinieri’s elite Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, which was written by Hugh Eakins, may be read in the November issue of Men’s Vogue.
24 Oct 2006
- Switzerland and Italy Are On The Same Page In Fighting Illicit Trade In
In the now infamous raid on offices owned by the dirty antiquities dealer Giacomo Medici in Geneva, thousands of looted artifacts, shards, photographs, documents, and other pieces of incriminating evidence were confiscated. This Empowered the elite Italian Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale to convict Medici in a court of law to a ten year prison sentence and led to the indictments and spectacular trial of Marion True of the Getty and Robert Hecht. Hecht and True are expected to take the stand on 10 Nov 2006. This incredible case and honorable work of the Italain Carbinieri’s TPC has been thoroughly detailed in Peter Watson’s book The Medici Conspiracy (refer to Roll Call 26 September 2006).
The Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli recently signed an accord with Swiss Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin that makes it much more difficult for traffickers of illicit art & antiquities to use Switzerland as an international den of thieves. The accord makes customs officials responsible for ensuring the art-works have a good provenance and were legally exported from their country of origin.
Unfortunately, this accord only protects art that dates from before the 16th century and leaves everything dating from the Renaissance onward vulnerable. Why not give a blanket protection to all artworks one may ask? The art market in Switzerland is very important, wealthy, and politically powerful; it proves to be the strongest of political lobbies. The Swiss officials hearts may be in the right place, but they fear stepping on too many influential toes at one time.
This most recent accord between Italia and Switzerland is one more step in a series that Switzerland has taken to clean up her act as well as her image. She has recently ratified the 1970 UNESCO treaty that protects antiquities from filthy underworld operators, looters and smugglers. Swiss authorities have been cooperative with Italian law enforcement in the pursuit of justice. The nation has also attempted to stiffen laws that govern the antiquities market.
In the parlance of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
23 Oct 2006
- Art of the Heist- Now Airing.
most high profile art thefts of the 20th and 21st centuries,
The series uncovers
trade secrets from the art theft trade and examines
17 Oct 2006 - Michel Van Rijn; A cross between Sam Spade and Oscar Wilde, says "good night sweet Machiavellian princes!"
Today, the self-made artworld gumshoe Michel van Rijn sent this e-mail to the Museum Security Network Mailinglist and posted it on his notorious website as well:
14 Oct 2006 - 10th Annual D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival
Congratulations to our sister Naho Taruishi of the 17th Street Tribe for her participation in the 10th annual d.u.m.b.o. Art Festival. Naho is an emerging video/performance artist from Japan who is a great inspiration to her family members in the collective.
For more info on this incredible Brooklyn art scene: www.dumboartscenter.org/festival/
13 Oct 2006 - Joel Perlman: A sculptor's Journey; by Philip F. Palmedo
This book is the first monograph devoted to the work of Joel Perman (b.1943), an acclaimed sculptor in steel and bronze, whose works are represented in the permanent collections of America's top museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, and The Hirshorn Museum and Scultpure Garden.
This book features 150 illustrations- 111 plates of Joel's works, as well as photos from Joel's life, such as Joel standing next to his Matchless 500cc Motorcycle in 1965 to various studio shots of the artist at work. It describes Joel's adventurous life and artistic growth, through his years spent living in the United Kingdom to his establishment in the vibrant New York SoHo art scene.
Joel Perlman: A Sculptor's Journey
Joel Perlman is an acclaimed sculptor in steel and bronze; he is one of the greatest artists in New York City and and all around great guy! This book is a necessary edition for any art world library.
29 September 2006 - a Conversation with Michele Zalopany
We Cordially Invite You to:
A celebration of three books which
have cast a new light on the
Plus.... a public lecture by Peter Watson
16 November 2006
The Chelsea Art Museum
17 September 2006 - The Medici Conspiracy
The Medici Conspiracy:
On 17 November 2006, at 1800 hrs., Peter Watson will be giving his first U.S. lecture on "The Medici Conspiracy" at New York's Chelsea Art Museum, 556 W 22nd St. (at 11th Ave).
Read more about this event at: www.savingantiquities.org.
Interview of John Myatt ; Art Forger
Turned Professional Artist
The artist, John Myatt, was involved in what Scotland Yard described as the biggest art fraud of the 20th century. John painted over 200 fakes of Giacometti, Klee, Chagall, and Van Gogh, to name a few. These paintings were then sold by a master con man that John was associated with. John was arrested, and in 1999, served four months of a twelve month sentence. When he was released from prison he swore that he would never paint again. The Scotland Yard detective who had arrested john commissioned him to paint a family portrait. This detective, who is now retired and one of John’s close friends, helped convince him to return to his easel where he belongs. He is now fast becoming one of the United Kingdom’s most accomplished artists. Here John Myatt discusses his art and the art world.
CVS- You had a show in May 2006 at St. Paul’s Gallery in London. How did it go?
John Myatt- It was a great success! It was Lovely. The gallery wants to keep the unsold paintings on a semi permanent display. Eventually I will want to get them back though. I like to look at my old paintings with fresh eyes and possibly re-work them.
CVS- Tell me about your art studio.
JM- We have one room which is shaped like a dining room. I purposely put down an old carpet so I can get messy while I work. I go back and forth to the easels and paint gets splattered all over the floor and walls. I don’t use a palette but mix my paints directly onto a table. It is rather interesting how the studio is set up. The house was built in the 1700s. When you leave my messy, worked in modern studio, you enter a very clean, old home with neat and tidy bookshelves.
CVS- What does your studio sound like? What kind of music do you listen to when you work?
JM- I listen to classical music; quite often Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, but usually Mozart.
CVS- Would you like to share any thoughts on the contemporary art scene?
JM- I’m not really part of that. I like to see all artists earn a living, but have no sympathy for the more challenging aspects of contemporary art. I view many of their operations more or less as stunts. Here in the U.K., the government sponsors the arts council. Public money is spent on the arts and they are afraid to look old fashioned, so they feel they must always promote art that is cutting edge. The government needs to leave contemporary artists alone to get on with it. Good art has always been commercial, even the old masters. Artists need to make a living, but when you have a Stalinist type approval in which the government approves the art to be chosen it distorts the process entirely. The government needs to get out of the art business. The whole thing is corrupted by politicians and art experts. I’m not in the business of calling art work rubbish, though. I like to see artists earning a living on their art. If they are supporting themselves on their art they are heroes.
CVS- Have you ever visited the huge Chelsea gallery district in Manhattan?
JM- We have not been to the gallery district. When we did get to New York, we spent a few days in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My time at the Met was well spent. I spent a lot of time studying Monet’s Morning on the Seine because I had received several commissions to paint this picture. I noticed that hairs from Monet’s brushes had fallen off and stuck to the paint. This was also happening to me as I painted this scene and I had been painstakingly removing the brush hairs. All in all, I like New York very much.
CVS- Many young artists in New York complain that Chelsea is a well greased money making machine and they believe that the conformist art world needs rebels. You certainly entered your art career on a devious path, that is to say, a less then normal road traveled. Do you consider yourself a rebel?
JM- In a way yes. What happened, the crime that was committed, did show that the whole system of experts and history of painting was silly and stupid. It made a lot of experts look silly. I quite like that. People are not ready to use their own eyes when looking at paintings. You don’t need three years in a university before you can look at a painting and decide whether you like it or not. When you look at a fake, you feel all right saying you don’t like it. Knowing it is a fake gives you the power to say “I don’t like it” or “I like it”. When you look at an original painting you spend too much time reading the card on the sides, looking at the signature, listening to the audio. People think to themselves “Oh, I have to go and study this artist and this painting”. We have to give people the confidence to look at paintings and just enjoy them. The last thing people want is to feel stupid, so they wait for someone to tell them what art to like and dislike.
Also, once you learn to like an artist, you can’t afford to buy his paintings because the prices are too high. Money limits the choices; that is where I come in. I paint pictures that people can afford. When I paint an artists painting, it is quite hard to tell it from an original.
CVS- Do you get a lot of commissions from New York?
JM- I get some of my most astonishing commissions from N.Y. I think Americans are fantastic people and are a pleasure to work with. They have a nice sense of humor and I like that. What I do is funny and you have to laugh. A New Yorker recently commissioned me to paint a very large Picasso. If I painted it the size he wanted, I could never have carried it out of my studio. I told him that the painting could be no larger than 6 foot by 6 foot and he just laughed and stated “that’s ok John. You do it as large as I want it and then you’ll find a way”.
CVS- You have mentioned Monet several times. As far as art history goes, who is your favorite artist?
JM- I would have to say Picasso. He had so many different periods to look at and choose from. He changed his artistic style almost every seven years.
CVS- That is a very interesting point. It causes great pain to contemporary artists that dealers, critics and collectors reject any change in their style. When an artist is known for his or her work, they are expected by the market to stick to it and suffer consequences if they change.
JM- Yes, they get trapped. It is sort of like getting stuck in prison.
CVS- So you love Picasso. I am very enthused about the early Paris days of Montmartre and Montparnasse.
JM- I would have loved to have been around in Montmartre at the Bateau Lavoir. I would have loved to spend time with all those artists like Picasso, Modigliani, Braque, as well as Apollinaire and all those poets. I would have loved to be there.
CVS- You mentioned Apollinaire. Do you have any favorite poets?
JM- I have not read much of Apollinaire’s poetry. I like older English poets the most, such as John Donne.
CVS- Do you have any future exhibitions in line?
JM- I have one scheduled for December of 2007 on Dover St. in London.
CVS- I know you have been talking to television companies. How is that playing out?
JM- I am a little frustrated by it all. I have a good working routine in my studio. What I do is paint. I don’t produce TV shows. I’ve been busy with the television producers and it is taking me away from my art work. When I’m not painting, I feel like I’m wasting my time. After the health and happiness of your family, the most important thing in an artist’s life is his work.
In the introduction of Scenes de la Boheme, Henri Murger described true artists as “…a race of obstinate dreamers for whom art has remained a faith and not a profession; enthusiastic folk of strong convictions, whom the sight of a masterpiece is enough to throw into a fever…” This is a precise description of John Myatt, who is a great artist and a good man. He is indeed a true artist of strong convictions and has dedicated his life to art. John has a more honest philosophy of art then most big players in the art world today and is forging his own path without concern for the conventional thinking of the contemporary art market, or the limitations it imposes on artists.
John’s work may be viewed on his web site: www.johnmyatt.com.
Buon Viaggio to two brothers from the 17th Street Tribe Artist Collective. Ryan Brown and Stuart Steltzer are on their way to Berlin, Germany for an artist residency. We wish all the best to two of our brothers who are fired by art, poetry and the thirst for life!!! Please don't get to distracted by the great beer or the bold, blonde, beautiful ladies (although they might prove to be quite an inspiration to your art work!).
We also wish a safe trip
back from the Netherlands to
The Art World is a world without
borders, governments, or political parties!
30 July 2006 - Cracking a Smuggling Ring
Ferdinando Musella, the head of Italy’s art police and a seasoned Mafia investigator, is leading the search for looted antiquities in American museums- while still on the trail of an elusive Caravaggio.
By Kelly Devine Thomas
Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinando Musella, tall and tan with jet-black hair and dark eyes, strides into the ARTnews offices with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses pushed back on top of his head. The operations chief of Italy’s art police, Musella speaks Italian and French but little English and is therefore accompanied by Angelo Ragusa, a warrant officer in his unit who acts as translator.
The chief has an hour to spare before attending a press conference at which New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly will return to Italian representatives a marble head that thieves hacked off an ancient statue of Dionysus in 1983, which resurfaced recently at Christie’s.
Musella, a central figure in Italy’s widening investigation into the trade in antiquities looted from Italian soil, is in the United States to further press his country’s claims against American museums. A tough negotiator with a steely gaze, Musella has been working with his unit for the past decade to crack a smuggling ring that allegedly sold objects to top collectors and museums around the world, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among others.
In the wake of a precedent-setting accord reached earlier this year with the Met, which agreed to restitute six antiquities, including a 16-piece set of Hellenistic silver, to Italy in exchange for long-term loans of comparable artifacts, it appears that other American museums “are going to be more cooperative than in the past,” Musella says. Still, he warns, “if they are not going to be cooperative with us, we will still go forward with the investigation.” Asked which museums are involved in his inquiries, Musella responds, “It is easier to ask which museums are not involved.”
The day before his visit to ARTnews, Musella met with Jane A. Levine, assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, with whom Italy has worked closely for years. Initially Musella had thought his work in the United States could be wrapped up by October. But now, he says, “based on our successful meeting yesterday, we still need more time.” Asked if the investigation might lead to prosecutions in the United States, Musella nods affirmatively, “Yes.”
Investigations carried out under Musella’s watch so far have led to Italy’s prosecution of Italian dealer Giacomo Medici, American dealer Robert E. Hecht Jr., and Marion True, the former antiquities curator at the Getty Museum. Medici was convicted in Italy of Trafficking in looted artifacts after a 1995 raid on his Swiss warehouse turned up a vast archive of information on the antiquities trade; he is currently appealing a ten-year prison sentence. Hecht and True are standing trial in Italy on charges of receiving stolen antiquities and conspiring to traffic in illegally acquired artifacts (both deny any wrong doing). Musella says the 86-year-old Hecht, an alleged ringleader of the illicit antiquities trade, is “for us one of the ten most wanted.”
Evidence seized during raids in 2002 and 2005 on Basel warehouses used by Sicilian dealer Gianfranco Becchina, meanwhile, is providing additional information about acquisitions of allegedly looted objects, Musella says (Becchina is currently under investigation for his part in the smuggling operation). Most of the material found in the warehouse raids has led Italian investigators to the United States. “Here we have found the majority of the objects stolen from Italy,” says Musella. “We will finish our investigations here and then start in Europe and in other countries.”
The divorced father of one child, Musella was born in 1962 in Salerno in Southern Italy. When he was 16 he followed his father’s footsteps into the army, enrolling into a training school for the Carabinieri, a national military police network organized under the Italian armed forces. Beginning as a horse patrolman, Musella rose through the ranks to eventually work drug trafficking, terrorism, and Mafia-related cases, beginning in 1993. During this period he was instrumental in helping apprehend Raffaele Pernasetti, one of Italy’s most wanted fugitives and a member of Rome’s notorious Magliana crime syndicate. In 1996 Musella joined the art squad, known as the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimomio Culturale (Command for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage), and was promoted to operations chief within a year.
In addition to its status as a division of the military, the Carabinieri art unit is a branch of Italy’s ministry of culture. Since its founding in 1969, the unit has recovered some 185,295 artworks and 455,771 archeological objects, and has brought criminal charges against more than 16,000 individuals.
Musella and the 70 people under his command, 45 of whom are active investigators, scored a major coup when they were able to recover what the Italian government deemed the world’s rarest and most valuable looted antiquity: an ivory head of Apollo dating from the first century B.C., reportedly worth $50 million. Illegally excavated and smuggled out of Italy in 1995, the head was discovered in the possession of London dealer Robin Symes, an alleged coconspirator of Medici’s and Hecht’s who, according to Musella, had lined up an American collector willing to pay $10 million for it. The head was returned to Rome in 2003 and is now displayed in its own room in the National Museum of Rome. Musella speaks of writing a book- part romance, part thriller- about its recovery. Perhaps, he suggests, the book will be made into a movie.
Among Musella’s priorities is recovering Caravggio’s Nativity With Saints Francis and Lawrence (1609), whose theft from a Sicilian church more than 35 years ago was detailed in Peter Watson’s 1984 book the Caravaggio Conspiracy. In terms of importance, Musella considers the painting to be the “numero uno” object stolen from Italy that is still at large. While it is believed to be in the possession of the Mafia, Musella says, “we don’t know where it is.” At one point, Gerlando “The Rug” Alberti, the chief of a famous Sicilian crime family in Palermo, buried the painting in a box along with drugs and millions in cash in case he “needed to leave the country or needed it for negotiations,” Musella says. A witness tipped off investigators to its location, but by the time police arrived, the box had been moved.
As for his own collecting, the only objects Musella has acquired over the years are law enforcement pins from colleagues around the world. Regarding those collectors and institutions that prefer to collect antiquities removed illegally from Italian soil, Musella says their actions are not only harmful but unnecessary. “You can ask for a loan. We have enough cultural artifacts to loan the U.S.”
Kelly Devine Thomas is a senior writer for ARTnews.
Stephen A. Mendonça
The Broadway Grill
339 Springfield Ave
Gallery opening times:
Donation of $10 is requested for:
Of course we all know
that Italia is going to win the World Cup in Germany with ease, but we still
like this one time Juventus team member from France. Football in art!
Exciting combo. We thought we should share this with you all to join into
the spirit of the games.
Subject: Zidane: A XXIst Century Portrait
Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased
Best wishes and congratulations to
John Myatt! You are an artist!
An exhibition of genuine fakes
St Paul’s Gallery
FINE ART PUBLISHERS AND DEALERS
94 – 106 Northwood St
Gallery opening times:
‘Biggest Art Fraud of 20th Century’ to be Filmed
Described by London’s Scotland Yard as “the biggest art fraud of the 20th century,” the story of British artist John Myatt will be brought to the screen by two American producers. For seven years, Myatt painted 200 fake masterpieces that an accomplice passed off as authentic and which were sold by major auction houses and to private collectors; only 80 of the paintings, supposedly by such artists as Giacometti, Klees, Van Gogh and Chagall, have been tracked down. In 1999, Myatt served four months of a twelve month sentence while his accomplice served six years. Los Angeles-based producers Jay Weston and Fred Levinson acquired the rights from Myatt, who now lives in the small Staffordshire village of Fairoak, England. Julie Daly-Wallman of London’s Greeneye Productions will co-produce. Visitors to Myatt’s recent London exhibition – 68 new works in the style of famous artists (Miro, Picasso, Giacometti) with the words “Genuine Fake” written in indelible ink on the back and which sold for $875 to more than $8,000. – included the foreman of the jury which convicted him, his defense lawyer, the Scotland Yard detective who arrested him and, upon his release from prison commissioned a portrait, as did the prosecutor in the case. Now 60, Myatt gives lectures on art forgery alongside officers from Scotland Yard. Jay Weston has produced biographical films on Billie Holiday and W.C. Fields and is currently preparing Hemingway’s life story.
Myatt was a composer (his song, “Silly Games,” was number one on the British charts) before teaching art in the mid-80’s. When his wife split and left him with two young children, in desperation he painted a fake Albert Gleizes which an associate, John Drewe, sold for 25,000 pounds at Christie’s. Other fakes followed, some selling for as much as $150,000. His ‘genuine fakes’ now sell for several thousand pounds apiece. In fact, an unidentified forger in London has been selling fake Myatts.
BOLO for our future Munch theft update on our Crime Scenes and Capers page
Scream surrounded buy coppers; Bansky.
Conviction and Disturbing the Peace
11 March 2006 - Richard Hambleton strikes inside N.Y.U.'s Grey Gallery.
One of the hottest shows
at the moment is The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984 at the
Grey Art Gallery of New York University. The show is an examination of many
of the artists that were active in Lower Manhattan between 1974 and 1984,
such as Lucio Pozzi, David Hammons, Mike Bidlo, Kiki Smith, Jenny Holzer,
Martin Wong, Tehching Hsieh, to name a few. Also, graffiti artists such as
Lee Quinones, Jean-Michel basquiat, and Keith Haring. One very accomplished
street artist from the era, Richard Hambleton, was not represented in this
show, until he decided to fix that
Also exhibited are two photos done by Harvey Wang of Adam Purple's Garden. A year after Adam Purple moved to 184 Forsyth Street in 1972, the city raised two Eldridge Street tenaments. Purple constructed a magnificent "Garden of Eden" in the huge empty lot. New York City bulldozed this beautiful garden that would have made King Nebuchadnezzar II jealous in 1986 after a long court battle.
Unfortunately, like the "Shadow", another accomplished Graffiti artist of the era, the "Purple Feeter", was not represented in this exhibition. This artist layed down purple foot prints that started at N.Y. City Hall and led to Adam Purple's Garden. In time, this artist layed down miles and miles of purple feet all over Manhattan. This was a protest against NYC's attack on Purple and his beautiful garden. So we are now hopeful that museum staff will soon discover another exciting "addition" to this show !!!
The Downtown Show will close on April 1, 2006. It can be seen at the Andy Warhol Museum between May 20 and September 3, 2006 and at the Austin Museum of Art in Texas from November 18 until January 28, 2007.
6 March 2006 - Sweet Sixteen
March 18th marks the 16th anniversary of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery. Not only is our sense of loss renewed as another anniversary elapses; it’s aggravated by a nagging sense of hopelessness. Not one of the 11 paintings taken in the pre-dawn raid has ever surfaced and no one has ever been indicted for the crime, begging the question: will we ever see any of these precious masterpieces again? Now, after 9 years of silence, one of the key figures in the investigation is making bold new claims.
William (Billy) Youngworth III became renowned in the summer of 1997 when he declared he could broker the return of the stolen artworks. For a while, he had everybody’s attention. The FBI, officials at the Gardner, the US District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, the Boston PD, even certain senators on capital hill were convinced Billy was the real deal. Everything went dead silent, however, when he went to prison for receiving a stolen vehicle – a rap he contends was a coercion tactic.
Billy was in prison when the Gardner heist occurred – in a federal penitentiary in Tennessee for parole violation. Although this may redeem him of any guilt in the actual perpetration of the crime, as far as the FBI was concerned in 1997, this didn’t negate his culpability.
Billy has been indicted for larceny, forgery, passing bad checks, and a federal interstate commerce violation. His familial legacy is steeped in the Boston Irish mafia and one of his close friends is renowned Charleston mob boss, Joseph P. Murray. In his early teens and twenties, under the tutelage of Myles Connor, he participated in several grab & run art thefts. He was somewhat of an unseemly suspect, however. In 1997, prior to being sent-away for receiving stolen property, he owned and operated an arts and antiques store in Randolph, Massachusetts with his late wife, Judy, while raising their son, Billy IV.
According to Billy, the biggest art heist in history began quite accidentally. Right across the street from the ISG museum sits Simmons College – an all-women’s college started in 1899 by renowned tycoon John Simmons. With Palace Road cleaving them and The Fenway facing them, two streets very loosely patrolled by police back in 1982, it seemed like an easy target for the photographic and audio-visual equipment Billy needed.
Billy was part of an ID forgery ring providing documents to Joe Murray, who was smuggling IRA illegals over and, in return, sending guns to Ireland. Their equipment was lost in a police bust several weeks prior and he needed desperately to replace it. A little after midnight on February 26th he and several cronies robbed Simmons of more than $35,000 in cameras and A.V. equipment.
The nighttime security guard for Simmons was in on the burglary and, apparently, even helped load the truck. He also happened to be “covering” for the guard who worked at the Gardner next door.
It was common practice between the night guard crews from both facilities to cover for one another when they needed to take a night off. There wasn’t any kind of security system at either place in those days, relying solely on guards.
Needing to go do rounds at the Gardner, the Simmons guard took Billy and his crew over to have a look. They left their cargo van parked at the loading dock on the backside of Simmons, crossed Palace Road – a distance of a little more than 100 feet – and entered the ISG museum through its side door, the Office and Delivery entrance. Nothing was taken that night, but the idea was implanted.
Over the next few years, Billy and his friends visited the ISG several times, casing the joint, taking inventory, acquainting themselves with the layout, scrutinizing the security. They even found a buyer.
A high-level Japanese criminal with Yakuza ties whom Billy befriended while serving time in FCI Terre Haute.
Before Billy could implement his plan to clean the Gardner out, he was arrested on a weapons violation, finding himself in federal custody facing a 9-year sentence for parole violation and a failure to appear in court charge. While Billy was imprisoned, his cohorts received a message from an accomplice working at the Gardner. Changes were being implemented; the security system was going to be revamped. If they were going to hit it, they were told, it was now or never.
Consequently, they took action. But without Billy, who had been the only one to communicate with the buyer, they didn’t know exactly which pieces to steal. More than half of what they buyer had wanted hadn’t been taken. What was had been handled brutally. Some paintings had been cut out of their frames. Others had been smashed asunder to free them. And all of the canvases had been rolled up, destroying the integrity of the paint.
Although, the initial buyer reneged, the thieves eventually pawned the paintings to Joe Murray. From whom, Billy claims, he inherited them in 1992 after Murray was killed by his distraught wife.
The aftermath is well known. Five years later, the FBI, in conjunction with Massachusetts State Police and Randolph Police, raided Youngworth’s arts and antiques store. They had a search warrant for military combat-style weapons, but all they found was three inoperable antique firearms.
In exchange for dismissal of all charges and his release, Billy offers up the 370-year old royal wax seal from the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter stolen in 1984. The ploy backfires. Rather than honoring their supposed agreement, the authorities lean on him harder, assuming he has knowledge of the Gardner heist. In retaliation, Billy launches a media-blitz, censuring the FBI and championing his claims that he can broker the return of the artworks.
Special Agent Neil Cronin, who had been one of the operating FBI agents present at the raid on Billy’s antiques store, met with him soon after his arrest. Billy said he was more than willing to help the FBI but required a few stipulations in return: the $5 million reward and blanket amnesty.
Cronin organized a meeting between Billy and Thomas Cassano, Supervisory Special Agent in charge of the Gardner case, and Assistant US Attorney Brien O’Connor. The meeting lasted all of fifteen minutes. O’Connor refused a blanket amnesty deal, demanded Billy reveal the names of the perpetrators, and requested physical proof he had control of the artworks as a show of good faith.
Circumventing the FBI, Youngworth met with museum officials. This meeting lasted ninety minutes, but an agreement was still not reached. Physical proof was requested of Youngworth to substantiate he had control of the artworks. He refused to cooperate, believing such a demand was merely a ruse to ensnare him.
In an attempt to give the authorities and the Gardner what they wanted and still protect himself, Youngworth allegedly arranged for Tom Mashberg, a Boston Herald reporter, to view Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee.” He also gave Mashberg paint chips and photographs.
The FBI deemed that the photographs were pictures of pictures and that the paint chips, although proven to be consistent with 17th century paint from Holland, did not match the paint flakes from either of the Rembrandt’s found at the crime scene. Tom Cassano has also expressed skepticism about Tom Mashberg’s claims, warning that improper claims of viewing evidence are considered to be obstruction of justice.
Before retiring, Cassano had also dealt with both Youngworth and his lawyers on several occasions and proclaimed that nothing helpful had ever come out of those meetings. Special Agent Kelly considers Youngworth to be nothing but a fraud vying for the $5 million reward. He will not comment on the leads he is pursuing; he will tell you he has pursued some very outlandish theories, but that it is necessary to run them all down, just to make sure. Reiterating what the FBI has touted from the get-go, Kelly assures the public that the return of the artworks is imperative, primary to the capture and prosecution of any suspects.
But as one New York, private art sleuth, once challenged, “If the main priority really was the art and its retrieval, and they thought Billy was bluffing, why didn’t they call him? They should have offered him immunity and the reward in writing and asked ‘Where’s the art?’ But they didn’t. They tried to paint Billy as a conman because they didn’t want to see him sun bathing on the French Riviera.”
It seems we are no closer to retrieving the artworks or apprehending a suspect than we were that heavyhearted morning 16 years ago. Leads have been followed and leads have been dismissed; some have dried-up and still others have been neglected. For those of us who would like to see the art repatriated, once again adorning the walls of the lavish Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, it is not a matter of politics, money or pride. Perhaps it is time to set aside old judgments and be willing to negotiate and compromise. Hopefully, it is not too late.
12 Feb 2006- Matthew Bogdanos speaks at Cooper Union on Feb 28
Thieves of Baghdad: the investigation into the
looting of the Iraq Museum.
Matthew Bogdanos has been an
assistant district attorney in Manhattan since 1988. A Colonel in the Marine
Reserves, middleweight boxer, and native New Yorker, he was raised waiting
tables in his family's Greek restaurant in lower Manhattan. He holds a
degree in classics from Bucknell University, a law degree and a master's
degree in Classical Studies from Columbia University, and a master's degree
in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. Rising to Senior Homicide
Trial Counsel in 1996, he lists among his 200 felony trials the prosecution
of 15-year-old "Baby-faced Butchers" Daphne Abdela and Christopher Vazquez
for their 1997 grisly Central Park murder and rappers Sean "Puff Daddy"
Combs and Jamal "Shyne" Barrows for their 1999 shootout. Recalled to active
duty after losing his apartment near the World Trade Center on September 11,
2001, he joined a multi-agency task force in Afghanistan. He then served two
tours in Iraq as the head of that task force and received a 2005 National
Humanities Medal from President Bush for his work recovering Iraq's
treasures. He has returned to the DA's Office where he continues the hunt
for stolen antiquities. Royalties from the sale of his book, Thieves
of Baghdad, are being donated to the Iraq Museum.
26 Jan 2006 - The Steve Kurtz Case
In May 2004, the Joint Terrorism Task Force detained the artist Steve Kurtz. Kurtz, who helped found Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), is also a University professor in Buffalo. The agents seized documents, computers, and equipment used in three of CAE's projects, including scientific equipment for monitoring genetically altered food. The seized materials were to have been part of an exhibition and performance at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). All the materials are legal and commonly used for scientific education and research activities in universities and high schools. The New York State Commissioner of Public Health determined that the materials seized by the FBI pose no public safety risk. Nevertheless, today Steve Kurtz faces a possible 20 years in prison.
The artist and a scientist face possible 20 year sentences
On June 29, 2004, a federal grand jury charged Kurtz, not with "bioterrorism," as listed on the Joint Terrorism Task Force's original search warrant and subpoenas, but with two counts each of federal criminal "mail fraud" and "wire fraud." These are serious charges which carry the same potential sentence as the original "bioterrorism" charge would have: up to 20 years. Also indicted was Robert Ferrell, former head of the Department of Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Public Health, and a collaborator on several of CAE's projects.
The charges concern technicalities of how Ferrell allegedly helped obtain $256 worth of harmless bacteria for one of CAE's art projects. The laws under which the indictments were obtained (Title 18, United States Code, sections 1341 and 1343) are normally used against those defrauding others of money and property, as in telemarketing schemes.
The judge who issued the search warrants for Kurtz's home and office was unaware of the artist's lengthy, credible and complete explanation of what the harmless bacterial substances were being used for; nor was he aware of the fact that Kurtz tasted the Serratia in one of the petri dishes in front of an officer to prove it was harmless; nor that Kurtz was a professor and artist who had exhibited the materials at museums and galleries internationally. The judge was told of a photograph with Arabic writing beside it, but not of the photograph's context: an invitation to an art exhibition at MASS MoCA! The photograph, by artists The Atlas Group, was one of several exhibited pieces pictured on the invitation.
A Warning to Artists
For More Information on How to Help:
21 Jan 2006- Good Job Austria!!!!
Benvenuto Cellini's Saliera was stolen in
Vienna in 2003. This was a terrible loss for the entire art world. We are
thrilled to announce that Saturday, Austrian investigators have recovered
this 16th-century treasure that is worth over 50 million euros! Police
recently released a photo of one of the suspects in this crime and citizens
recognized him. He turned himself in to the police and then led them to the
sculpture, which was buried in a box in a forest near the northern town of
Much respect from the art world for the Austrian police! Artists must give credit where credit is due. Investigators like these protect the art world through ability, cunning, and dedication.
20 January 2006 - U.S. , Italia Extend Arts Pact
The Memorandum of Understanding, a U.S. ban on the import of Etruscan, Greek and Roman artifacts from Italy has been extended for another five years. The accord, which took effect in 2001, has been an effective tool against looting of archeological sites. Italian police reports indicate that looting of archeological sites in Italia is still a severe problem and the United States is the main destination of these illicit treasures. This extension comes at a time period of aggressive police work by the Italian Carabinieri's Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (Their elite art theft squad). They are attempting to repatriate many looted archeological artifacts by American museums that have practiced unethical buying policies in the past. One example is the trial of ex-Getty curator Marion True and her codefendant, American antiquities dealer, Robert Hecht. This trial is being held in Rome and both face jail time. Hopefully they both do time and Hecht will soon be some big Italian thug's girlfriend and get to play housekeeper (actually- cell keeper) . "Hey Robert, your new lover Mario the knuckle dragger needs his clothes ironed and his bunk made! Hurry up and report for lock up!" - It couldn't happen to a nicer guy!!!