Crimes of the Art is a weekly survey of artless criminals’ cultural misdeeds. Crimes are rated on a highly subjective scale from one “Scream” emoji — the equivalent of a vandal tagging the exterior of a local history museum in a remote part of the US — to five “Scream” emojis — the equivalent of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.
Stolen Dog Sculpture Homeward Bound After Off-Leash Stroll
Tony Matelli’s hyperrealistic sculpture of a seeing eye dog, “Stray Dog” (2014), went truly astray last weekend when it was stolen from the intersection of 72nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan. The bronze pup, a popular attraction since it was installed as part of the Broadway Morey Boogie public art exhibition in September, was found by the New York Parks Department propped up against a tree in nearby Riverside Park.
Verdict: I have a hunch Matelli decided to activate his sculpture by setting it free. This could very well be a case of the tail wagging the dog.
Suspected Forger Set Free, for Now
Lawrence H. Ulvi, who allegedly sold forged works he passed off as Mark Tobey originals to art dealers in Washington and California — and was looking for buyers of Edward Hopper, Charles Burchfield, Morris Graves, and Kenneth Callahan knock-offs — was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on March 9, and released on March 10. Though prosecutors fear he may attempt to flee, Ulvi is due to be arraigned on March 31.
Verdict: Tobey, Callahan, Burchfield, and Hopper? That’s an impressive range. Someone get Ulvi a solo show!
Artifacts Take Off from Aircraft Museum
On the evening of March 9 thieves broke into the Solent Sky Museum, an institution in Southampton, UK, chronicling the history of aviation, and lifted several valuable objects including a cigarette case that had belonged to the inventor of the Spitfire, RJ Mitchell.
Verdict: Those thieves should be grounded.
Das Ist Fraud
German art and luxury goods dealer Helge Achenbach was convicted of overcharging one of his clients, the late supermarket mogul Berthold Albrecht, some €19 million (~$20.1 million) on purchases of luxury automobiles and works by artists including Gerhard Richter, Pablo Picasso, and Roy Lichtenstein. Achenbach was sentenced to six years in prison.
Verdict: Achtung, Achenbach, you skimmed too much off the top.
Flags of Our Toddlers
Photographer and Navy veteran Vanessa Hicks is being accused by some of violating the US Federal Flag Code for taking a photo of a Navy serviceman holding his newborn child in a US flag. US citizens who have treated the flag in ways deemed improper by the Federal Flag Code have often sought (and found) protection from punishment by appealing to the First Amendment.
“I have seen first-hand what is desecration of the flag,” Hicks said. “At the end of the day I didn’t do anything that disrespected this flag.”
Verdict: This photo would only be improper if the flag in question were a Jasper Johns.
Memes depicting a sinister, all-powerful Joe Biden alter ego are sweeping the internet, and the Democratic establishment is loving it.
“She dug into what she was fascinated by and obsessed with: things that existed on the periphery, people who didn’t follow the rules,” said one of her friends.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
The prized antiquities, dating from the Bronze Age to the 12th century, were trafficked by the notorious British dealer Douglas Latchford.
With Paradise Camp, artist Yuki Kihara attempts to challenge and undermine colonial images of Sāmoa through a radical camp aesthetic.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
Combining elements of Surrealism, Symbolism, and portraiture, Vicuña’s paintings are parables of personal and political awakening.
Featuring a delicate lead performance by Christine Froseth, this is a smart, sometimes purposefully discomfiting comedy about taking control of one’s sexuality.
Masaaki Yuasa’s latest anime feature embodies a revolutionary spirit in its tale of outcasts breaking ground in medieval Japan.
Lebanese art dealer Georges Lotfi, who once helped authorities seize looted antiquities, is now accused of doing his own share of trafficking too.
An exhibition depicts how people have reimagined the medieval period in the centuries since, and how they have revealed their own interests and ideals with each new interpretation.