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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.
Small Sculptures on the Lam in Lubbock
All 18 of the neon yellow ceramic figures that make up Efren Marrufo’s installation “Guerrerros” were stolen from an outdoor area at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock, Texas.
Verdict: However callous the thief may be, at least he or she had the good sense to maintain the integrity of the 18-piece installation.
Kiwis Caught in Cash Kerfuffle
The governor of New Zealand’s Reserve Bank apologized after wrongfully attributing a design on the nation’s new $10 bank note to a specific Gisborne wharenui (or meeting house). The bank is now working with the Te Hau ki Turanga Trust to discover the true origins of the design, which represents the Milky Way and may have been used without permission when it was first featured on a New Zealand bank note in 1993.
Verdict: This seems elementary, but it bears repeating — before sending thousands of reproductions of artworks and images out into the world for longterm daily use, please be sure all their elements are properly sourced and cited.
Artists’ Work Trapped After Gallery’s Eviction
Artists Linus Coraggio, Christopher Hart Chambers, Nina Germans, and Brian Gormley have not been able to retrieve their works from the Elena Ab Gallery in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, ever since gallerist Elena Ab was evicted for not paying her rent. Ab, who now owes her landlord over $102,000, claims she began her rent strike after not having heat in the gallery for four months last winter.
Verdict: Rent strikes are a commendable way to get back at lousy landlords, but gallerists, please let your artists know if you’re doing something that could result in eviction.
Near Modernist Masterpiece, Graves Gotta Go
Eight graves, including that of former president Ziaur Rahman, will be removed from the vicinity of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (or National Parliament House) in Dhaka, after the ministry of housing and public works ruled that they were not in keeping with architect Louis Kahn’s design for the complex.
Verdict: This may seem a little coldhearted, but the Ziaur Rahman mausoleum is definitely not the sort of thing Kahn would have wanted next to his parliament building.
Culture-Craving Raccoons Run Amok
Police in Newport, Oregon, recently responded to reports of suspicious activity at the Inscapes Gallery, only to find four raccoons on a late-night gallery stroll. Please read local station KOIN6’s report — it is one of 2015’s most wonderful bits of small-town news.
Verdict: The gallery should adopt the art-hungry animals and launch the world’s first raccoons-in-residence program.
Bronzes Boosted, Eh?
Two tabletop bronze sculptures by Julie Campagna were stolen from Toronto’s Great Spirit Gallery earlier this month. Proprietor Christi Johnson suspects the culprit was a woman who came into the gallery several times but never said hello.
Verdict: Impoliteness is the surest sign someone’s gonna swipe some sculptures.
No Return for This Jedi
A valuable Star Wars print that was on display in an Ottawa restaurant in the lead-up to a charity auction — where its sale would have benefited a local healthcare organization — was stolen.
Verdict: Employing Jedi mind tricks to take charity art is the lowest use of the Force since a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.