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Crimes of the Art

Detail of Glenna Goodacre's "Park Place" featuring the stolen bronze dog (photo by PatrickRohe/Flickr)
Detail of Glenna Goodacre’s “Park Place” featuring the stolen bronze dog (photo by PatrickRohe/Flickr)

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.

Bronze Dog Bolts

crimes-of-the-art-scream-4A bronze dog that was part of Glenna Goodacre’s installation “Park Place” in the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History‘s sculpture garden has been stolen. The 100-pound canine, nicknamed “Sparky” by visitors and museum staff, was sawed from its concrete base.

Verdict: Police would have better luck collaring the criminal if Sparky had been collared.

Meth Smugglers Find Inspiration in Art Supplies

crimes-of-the-art-scream-1Australia’s Federal Police seized $900 million worth of liquid methamphetamine that was being smuggled into the country in the guise of art supplies and silicone bra liners. The 190 liters of meth in the bra liners and 530 liters disguised as art supplies would have amounted to 3.6 million hits of meth.

Verdict: This is not the way to get the youth hooked on art.

Enter the Wu-Tang Legal Chambers

crimes-of-the-art-scream-2The Long Island-based artist Jason Koza, who previously claimed that his drawings of members of the Wu-Tang Clan had been used without his permission in the album art for Once Upon a Time in Shaolin… (see Crimes of the Art #48), is suing RZA, the producer Cilvaringz, online auction site Paddle8, and the buyer of the only copy of the album, Martin Shkreli, for copyright infringement.

Verdict: Who would’ve imagined, when this whole multi-million-dollar, single-copy album scheme was first announced, that the whole thing would backfire so spectacularly? Oh wait, everyone.

Airline Sued for Fontana’s Bumpy Flight

crimes-of-the-art-scream-3American Airlines and seven art and luggage handling companies — Elite Systematic Arts, MainFreight, CDG Handling, ARC Transport, World Freight, Socièté Nouvelle Cornu Emballeurs, and Kraft ELS AG — are being sued for damage sustained by Lucio Fontana’s slash painting “Concetto Spaziale” (1955–60) when it was shipped from Paris to New York City for last year’s Armory Show art fair.

Verdict: What was that blue chip art doing on American Airlines in the first place? Everyone knows Singapore Airlines is the preferred airline of masterpieces.

Dino Sculpture Used for Jurassic-Size Prank

#Godshill

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crimes-of-the-art-scream-2A 25-foot-long sculpture of a triceratops was moved into the middle of the road overnight, allegedly by drunken pranksters, in the village of Godshill on the Isle of Wight. The large sculpture had been dragged there from nearby Island Gems, a store that sells gems and fossils.

Verdict: If this is all an elaborate Island Gems publicity stunt, we think it’s T-rexxic.

Ring of Temple Looters Busted

crimes-of-the-art-scream-4Four men were arrested for robbing 21 temples throughout India over the course of more than a decade. Police also recovered a silver Parshwanath Maharaj idol that the gang stole from a Jain temple. A jewelry dealer suspected of buying much of their loot was also arrested.

Verdict: On top of their official sentence, ransacking 21 temples entitles these looters to several lifetimes of bad karma.

Motives Behind Glass Art Theft Remain Opaque

crimes-of-the-art-scream-2A glass sculpture worth $20,000–25,000 was stolen from the Morean Arts Center’s Chihuly Collection and then anonymously returned, wrapped in bubble wrap inside a cardboard box.

Verdict: The thief probably realized that the sculpture he’d stolen is horribly gaudy.

Ice Dragon Grounded

crimes-of-the-art-scream-1A 300-pound sculpture of a dragon’s head created by first-time ice artist Rob Kimmel at the 2016 Northampton Ice Art Festival was smashed within hours of its completion. Several sculptures at last year’s Northampton Ice Art Festival met with similar fates (see Crimes of the Art #1).

Verdict: Whoever did this must have a block of ice where his heart should be.

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