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.
Angered By Hijab Artwork, Drunk Brexit Supporter Beaks It
A drunken 70-year-old named Mikaela Haze reportedly yelled “Saudi Arabia go home” before attacking “Walk a Mile in Her Veil,” an artwork by Yasmeen Sabri, at the Royal College of Art. The work consisted of a hijab draped over a wire frame that visitors were invited to put on to experience the world as seen through a veil; Haze pushed it over after adding: “We voted to take our country back.”
Verdict: The European Union must be relieved that it will soon no longer have to count Haze among its citizens.
Authenticator Absconds with Unverified da Vinci
An art expert in Bordeaux, who had been approached by an octogenarian looking to have a drawing left to her by her father — a drawing of a woman in profile signed Leonardo da Vinci — authenticated, disappeared with the possibly extremely valuable artwork.
Verdict: It’s not exactly a certificate of authenticity, but at least now we know that it’s probably a real da Vinci.
Grabby Visitors Get the Gettysburg Curse
According to a recent blog post by Maria Brady, a park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park, the park regularly receives packages containing rocks that unscrupulous visitors took from the historic battlefield and, after experiencing sudden onslaughts of misfortune, decided to return. “We didn’t know then how the removal of those stones would affect our lives and we didn’t know that they were cursed,” reads one letter accompanying such a package. “It wasn’t long after that that our lives fell apart. My wife took my son and walked out on me. I lost my house and majority of what I owned and ended up in prison for nine years.”
Verdict: This is why you don’t steal from places where tens of thousands of people were killed.
Auction Houses Sue Celebrity Appraiser Brothers
The so-called “Keno Brothers” — Leslie and Leigh Keno, former specialists at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, respectively, and fixtures of all 20 seasons of Antiques Roadshow — were sued by New Orleans Auction Galleries and Kamelot Auctions for bidding against each other on items until they reached sums many times their pre-sale estimates, and then failing to pay for the lots they’d won. The Kenos bought 244 items in a New Orleans Auction Galleries sale in April, racking up a $400,000 bill, and then in May bought 89 items during a sale at Kamelot Auctions before failing to pay a bill of nearly $200,000.
Verdict: Sounds more like an antiques gong show to me.
Entire Exhibition Disappears in Transit
A photo posted by Herr Nilsson (@nilsson_herr) on
Swedish street artist Herr Nilsson was due to open a solo show last week at London gallery Lights of Soho, but his shipment was stolen somewhere between Sweden and Britain. Some £100,000 (~$131,000) worth of works destined for the exhibition, which has been canceled but was due to be titled Fill the World with Sunshine, included a piece called “The Kiss” that featured Snow White and Queen Elisabeth II embracing.
Verdict: Such news fills the world with sadness.
Istanbul Cops Seize 2,000-Year-Old Aphrodite Statue
Two men have been detained by Istanbul police for attempting to sell more than a dozen artifacts believed to have been obtained through illegal excavations, including a sculpture of Aphrodite said to date 2,000 years ago. The pair had been trying to offload the loot for 1 million Turkish lira (~$327,000) when they were busted.
Verdict: What a coup for the Turkish authorities (too soon?).
Legal Trouble for Architecture for Humanity
The co-founders of humanitarian design nonprofit Architecture for Humanity, Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, are being sued, along with 10 members of the organization’s board of directors, for inappropriate use of “restricted funds” and for violating agreements made with donors. The lawsuit was brought by a court-appointed trustee, Janina M. Hoskins, who is seeking $3 million (Architecture for Humanity abruptly ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in 2015).
Verdict: Between this and the bankruptcy, Architecture for Humanity is starting to look like a house of cards.
Bar Serves Up Knockoffs of Hipsterized Historical Portraits
Israeli art dealer Yair Osheroff is preparing to sue the new Toronto bar Early Mercy over artworks included in its décor — portraits of modern historical figures including JFK, Che Guevara, and Nelson Mandela as fedora-wearing, mustache-waxing, tattooed hipsters — that appear to be unauthorized copies of this Hipstory series by artist Amit Shimoni, whom Osheroff represents. The company that designed the bar’s interior credits the offending portraits to Canadian tattoo artist Zimmo Lu.
Verdict: Early Mercy and Zimmo Lu had better get their hipstory straight.
Ceramic fried eggs, critiques of real estate, and a whole booth dedicated to female-identifying saints caught my eye at Untitled, NADA, and Art Miami.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recovered 23 looted objects from Shelby White’s home over the last year and a half.
The award-winning Canadian artist explores notions of power through the imagery of science fiction in portraits, sculpture, and objects.
An egregious “anti-woke” billboard erected in Los Angeles attempts to sow division among Latino/a/x communities.
This week, missed signs of previous life on Mars, the appeal of forged art, and why are blue whales singing in lower octaves?
This affordable, interdisciplinary program with excellent facilities and private studios offers in-person instruction for 2023.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed forcefully posits multiple parallels between the world Nan Goldin grew up in and the one she fights in today.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Bob Thompson, Aimee Goguen, Uta Barth, the Transcendental Painting Group, and more.
The latest episode of this documentary series on PBS explores the meaning of home through handmade objects, hand built homes, and the artists who create them.
There is the singular artist and then there is the more exclusive club that has only one member. Harvey belongs to the latter.
The artists say the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma must sever ties with Poju Zabludowicz, whose wealth comes in part from Israeli defense contracting.
Rhode Island School of Design opens registration for its residential summer Pre-College program and year-round online intensive Advanced Program Online.
Vanessa Albury, whose eco-friendly ceramic sculptures help revive filter-feeder populations, is raising funds to complete her first film about the project.
An archeological exploration of the amphitheater’s sewers and water systems uncovered remnants of meat, vegetables, olives, nuts, and yes, pizza.