A student on Roosevelt Island with Don Pedro painting in a NYC subway car. (all photos provided by the artists)

A student on Roosevelt Island with the missing Don Pedro painting in a NYC subway car (all photos provided by the artists)

Sometime this morning, a painting went missing from English Kills Art Gallery. The 40-by-60-inch canvas was by Don Pablo Pedro and had been hanging in his solo show at one of Bushwick’s oldest and most well-respected galleries. In typical Don Pablo Pedro fashion, the subject was sexual, crude, and beautifully painted in a hypnotic style reminiscent of Himalayan art.

The missing painting. (click to enlarge)

The missing painting (click to enlarge)

“Basically I’m just upset about it ruining the cohesiveness of the show,” the artist told Hyperallergic. “I worked for about a year on this show and the whole thing lasted for less then 24 hours. I don’t know who would want to steal a 5-by-4-foot painting of a fat two-headed green man getting his dick sucked, but what do I know?”

Chris Harding, the founder and director of English Kills, which opened in 2007, said he’s never had something like this happen before. “It happened after 4am and before we opened at noon today. We highly suspect it was a drunk young Caucasian from some town between here and California,” he told Hyperallergic.

The empty spot where the painting once was.

The empty spot where the painting once was

The painting was priced at $3,600, and another one in the same series sold for $3,200 the night before, according to the artist. Harding and the artist decided not to go to the police. “No, [I was] just trying to get it out to the community to see if anyone knows anything. I don’t believe the police will do anything to help,” Pedro said.

Harding explained that he “did not involve cops, already heard the ‘my kid could do that’ joke.”

The message Don Pablo Pedro received.

The message Don Pablo Pedro received

At 8pm tonight, someone named Chloé emailed the artist through his website to say she had the painting. Pedro discovered that the work was with a group of young people who claimed they had gotten it from a man named Adam, whose last name they said might have been Distenfeld, on Forrest Street, where English Kills is located. Adam reportedly told them the painting “sucked” before he handed it to them. The Roosevelt Island–based students googled the artist’s name, which is on the back of the painting, and emailed him through his website.

Is it going to change anything at the gallery? “No, we’re just gonna keep showing work that people want really bad, and maybe go on a Home Depot run for a better lock,” Harding said. “Pedro has a big fan out there, big enough to risk grand theft to get a painting, and also a major ass-kicking from all our friends. In the end, it’s a testament to Pedro’s talent.”

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

6 replies on “Painting Stolen from Bushwick Gallery Turns Up on Roosevelt Island”

  1. i think this is a fake all for make publicity of the artist and the gallery, well done you did it.

    1. Albert, this is extremely far from fake. My friends and I were at an artist studio a few blocks from the gallery where Don Pablo Pedro’s work is being shown. We saw the painting outside and the artist, Adam, told us his friend gave it to him and that he didn’t like it and we could take it. After a ride on both the L and F train we decided to look up the artist’s name on the back of the painting and found his Instagram post from earlier that day stating that this painting had been stolen. I immediately contacted him through Instagram and Chloe contacted him through email and we were able to return it to him. Being directly involved in the return of this wonderful piece of art, I can safely say to you that this article is quite factual. On top of that, Don Pablo Pedro and all of the people that accompanied him to retrieve the painting as well as the people we later met at the gallery, were absolutely wonderful and were nothing but thankful and kind to us.

  2. Great bunch of people who contacted you and got it back to you. Glad I saw this story. Love your work.

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