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.
UFO Museum’s Flying Saucer Takes Flight, Crashes
A sculpture of an alien spacecraft that long adorned the exterior of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico, was stolen and eventually found, smashed to pieces. The steel and fiberglass spacecraft had recently undergone repairs after it was damaged in a storm; it was being stored behind the museum in anticipation of a reinstallation on the façade. There are no suspects, and security footage of the out-of-this-world heist has been released.
Verdict: Like the moon landing video, the supposed “security footage” was obviously staged — this saucer heist was clearly the work of Martian looters.
Feds Follow Looted “Footprints”
Japanese antiquities dealer Tatsuzo Kaku was arrested at Manhattan’s Mark Hotel for smuggling a 2nd-century sculpture and attempting to sell it for $1.1 million. The artifact, a 440-pound Buddhapada sculpture dubbed “Footprints of Buddha,” was stolen from an archaeological site in Pakistan in 1982. A federal investigation of Kaku’s activities began last year, when a rival dealer outed him to authorities. Kaku was released after paying a $5,000 fine and cooperating with investigators.
Verdict: Antiquities dealers will tell the feds anything to cut a deal.
Cliffhanger in Cambridge Cranium Cover-up
A model of a skull used by medical students at the University of Cambridge’s King’s College was stolen from the school’s library, prompting the library to send out an all-student email that read: “Unfortunately a skull has gone missing from the library’s collection.” After a student posted part of the email on Twitter, the library attempted to cover up the incident, sending the student a message that concluded: “This has, as a result, attracted some unwarranted press attention. Please can you remove the Twitter post immediately.” The skull’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Verdict: Cambridge gets an F in Skull Theft Cover-ups.
Fabulous Flatware Found
Two suspects were arrested in Turkey’s Bandırma district and a trove of 105 historical artifacts seized, including what may be the world’s most valuable plate. The 2,000-year-old metal dish features scenes of the Persian king’s spring festivities rendered in bas relief around its edge. The suspects were trying to sell it for 2 million Turkish Liras (~$705,000).
Verdict: Sounds like the thieves will be missing this year’s spring festivities.
Amateur Archaeologist Arrested
A man who uncovered an ancient tomb in his backyard in Tongchuan, in China’s Shaanxi province, has been arrested for allegedly plotting to sell the 12 pieces of pottery and one sword he’d found in the tomb.
Verdict: Apparently the old rule of “finders keepers” doesn’t apply to ancient tombs — who knew?
Did You Know These Museums Were Free for New Yorkers?
The “Free Admission” campaign is advocating to make ticket pricing information more transparent to visitors, who may be confused or misled by institutions’ language.
AI Images Visualizing Trump’s Arrest Send Internet Into a Frenzy
The pictures, created using Midjourney, depict the former president’s greatest fantasy: being dragged away by police in front of the cameras.
Haggerty Museum of Art Presents Tomás Saraceno in Dialogue With Dr. Somesh Roy
The artist and researcher will explore soot’s effects on climate change and public health in this online conversation.
Some AI Artworks Now Eligible for Copyright
New guidance from the US Copyright Office sets some policies around AI-generated images.
NYC Hispanic Society Workers to Strike Indefinitely
One worker said the museum’s “skeletal” workforce bars the institution from functioning to its potential.
McKnight Visual Artist Fellows Discussion Series at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The series features 2021 Fellows David Bowen, Mara Duvra, Rotem Tamir, Ben Moren, and Dyani White Hawk in conversation with renowned curators and critics.
In Search of Inclusive South Asian Futurisms
We have been dangerously siloed for far too long by colonial constructs of race, nation, and time that separate, divide, and deny us our very being.
What Do Shtreimels and Cowboy Hats Have in Common?
A chance meeting on the subway introduced photographer Francesca Magnani to the multicultural world of Brooklyn milliner Richard Faison.
Nevada Museum of Art Presents Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
For the first time in nearly 60 years, the innovative yet under-recognized artist is the subject of a retrospective exhibition. On view in Reno, Nevada.
Richard Hull Completes the Picture
Once known for his abstracted portraits, the Chicago artist is now exploring new directions.
You Too Can Have Your Art on a Postage Stamp
The process isn’t complicated, and thousands of people submit themselves for the talent pool every year.
The Public Theater in NYC Presents Plays for the Plague Year
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s theatrical concert chronicles the 2020 lockdown and the hope and perseverance that emerged from it.
Bobby Wilson Combats Indigenous Stereotypes Through Humor
The artist-performer’s career undulates, ever so gracefully, across multiple mediums and registers of generational pain, healing laughter, and Indigenous joy.
Rare 19th-Century Silhouette Album’s Secrets Unlocked
Traveling portrait artist William Bache’s album depicts famous figures like Thomas Jefferson as well as people whose identity was previously unknown.
Your snarky reporting of the brainless vandalism of part of the UFO Museum’s collection rings pretty hollow in view of some of the conceptual and performance art you apparently revere.
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