Art critic Jerry Saltz has gotten the collecting bug- but, not being able to afford the seven-figure prices of the Gerhard Richter paintings he craved, instead challenged artists to fake one for him. He details his trials and eventual success at commissioning a satisfyingly Richterian abstraction for $155, and the promise and challenge of what he calls “little dick art” in New York Magazine. “I’ve got a Kara Walker cutout on order. Calders, Duchamps, Rothkos are all on the way. My wife is worried. So am I.”
Intrepid local TV news reporters tracked Uriel Landeros to Monterrey, where he is hiding out from charges of felony graffiti and criminal mischief in Houston after allegedly spray painting over Picasso’s Woman in Red Armchair at the Menil Collection. In a brief interview with KPRC TV’s Nefertiti Jacquez, Landeros claims association with the Occupy movement, and that his alleged action was aimed at righting wrongs and exposing the corruption of banks, government and large institutions in the United States and Mexico. Asked if he plans to return to Houston to face the charges, he said “it’s not my priority right now,” as commenters on the video froth.
In related news, the Yes Men, also claiming affinity with the Occupy movement, also using direct actions to publicize their positions, but so far staying just on the right side of the law, have almost reached the $100,000 goal for the Kickstarter campaign to fund their new movie!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is being sued by two of its members who claim that the museum intentionally makes it difficult to understand that the $25 admission charge is merely a suggestion, not a requirement. The City originally granted the Met its prime location in Central Park on the condition that it remain open free of charge several days per week; even the suggestion of an admission charge only began in the 1970′s. A survey of museum-goers found that 85% who had paid the $25 at the door did not realize they could have gotten in for free.
In Toronto, a panel of five city staffers with backgrounds in “the arts, urban design, architecture and other relevant disciplines” has been officially set up to decide on issues of the preservation of street art. The panel decides whether a given piece of street art is of sufficient artistic merit to exempt the owner of the property on which it is painted from fines for failing to remove it. As in many cities, in Toronto it is not only a crime to paint other peoples buildings, it is a crime not to un-paint them.
The panel is a nod to the growing respectability and commercial clout of street art in the midst of Toronto’s latest crackdown on graffiti, and offers some relief to property owners hosting legitimate artworks (rather than slumlords allowing urban decay), but none to painters: “Even if it’s Picasso, you’re not allowed to paint on other people’s walls,” says Elyse Parker, a city official who has coordinated several street beautification initiatives.
The panel came about in part in response to an embarrassing incident last May, when zealous city anti-graffiti squads painted over a popular stencil-style mural by Joel Richardson, which he says the city had paid him to paint, and is one of many incidents in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s war on graffiti, which has irked property owners by targeting them with a flood of city removal orders.
The New York Times reports that in a recent lawsuit mega-dealer Larry Gagosian revealed that he frequently represented both the seller and buyer in multimillion dollar art deals without disclosing his double-agent status to either party. The dispute arose over the sale of a Roy Lichtenstein painting: collector Jan Cowles claims that Gagosian sold the painting without authorization, AND that he let it go too cheaply, to another of his clients, for $2 million, pocketing a $1 million commission for himself on the deal.
Documents made public by the case include a sales pitch offering the Lichtenstein to collector Thompson Dean, a managing partner of a private equity firm, as a bargain: “Seller now in terrible straits and needs cash,” said one e-mail to Mr. Dean from the gallery. “Are you interested in making a cruel and offensive offer? Come on, want to try?”
In defense, Gagosian claims that the painting was offered for consignment by art dealer Charles Cowles, Mrs. Cowles son, who was in financial straits and lied about his permission to sell his mother’s painting. Things can get mixed up when you’ve got eleven galleries in different cities across the globe- last May, British collector Robert Wylde sued Gagosian for selling him another of Jan Cowles paintings, The Innocent Eye Test by Mark Tansey, again via Charles Cowles. Gagosian and Cowles overlooked the fact that the Metroplitan Museum of Art was a part owner of the work. The Met sued Wylde to get their painting back, Wylde sued Gagosian, and so it goes . . .
A new study, Impact of the Arts on Individual Contributions to U.S Civil Society, by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests a link between engagement in the arts and community involvement, altruism, and tolerance. The study analyzed data collected way back in 2002 from 2765 people in the General Social Survey (GSS), a biennial study of attitudes and trends in American society conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and was funded by the NEA’s Office of Research & Analysis.
The NEA’s website admits the study’s shortcomings, promising an arts-related supplement to the 2012 GSS that could confirm that the findings culled from the old data still hold today.
Glam director Jeffrey Deitch has added powerhouse entertainment agent Ari Emanuel to the MOCA board, and the results have been immediate: Emanuel reportedly negotiated a partner deal between MOCA and YouTube that launched MOCAtv, a channel featuring offbeat artist videos. Google, YouTube’s owner is fronting the production costs for the videos against future advertising royalties. The only text in their promo video for the series quotes Marshall Mcluhan: “Art is What You Can Get Away With.”
Blogger William Poundstone watched the nine videos on offer and called them “fun and counterintuitive without trying too hard. This could be the future of museum video.” Yesterday he guesstimated that in it’s first two days MOCAtv had generated $8.87 in ad revenue. today, it’s probably closer to $17, but then MOCAtv is just getting started.
Photography’s long-sought after decisive moment is happening more and more online, as meta-photographers aim their sensitivities at vast databases of machine-collected imagery from Google and other sources. In The Nine Eyes of Google Street View, a review of Jon Rafman’s recent exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery, Marco Bohr equates the recognition of significant images in the sea of automatically-collected Google street view data with Cartier-Bresson’s street-photography mantra. Apparently it’s happening all over: other artists who appropriate Google Street View images, such as Mishka Henner in the UK, Michael Wolf in Germany or Doug Rickard in the US are blurring photography’s once well-defended boundaries of authorship.
Michael Miller reports in Gallerist NY that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that makes it a misdemeanor for an art dealer to use funds owed to an artist from the sale of an artwork to pay for gallery operating expenses and creditors. The NY State Senate passed the bill in June, and Gov. Cuomo signed it earlier this month.
The bill was drafted in wake of the scandal concerning Salander O’Reilly Galleries, which filed for bankruptcy in 2007 commingled the sales proceeds that belonged to the artists, artists’ heirs and artists’ estates with the gallery’s own funds. Millions of dollars owed to artists disappeared, having instead gone toward keeping the gallery afloat.
“This law is good for everyone,” said John Cahill, the chair of the Art Law Committee. “The only people it isn’t good for are the people who are dishonest. It’s something that helps New York continue to be the center of the art world.”
Cecilia Gimenez, the woman whose botched restoration of a small fresco in Spain produced the “Beast Jesus” internet phenomenon, is suing the Sanctuario de Misericordia in Borja for a share in the profits that flocking tourists have brought to the once obscure church, which began charging a 4 euro admission fee. Her lawyers say that her share of the money, if won, will go to muscular atrophy charities. Meanwhile, descendants of Elias Garcia Martinez, the local artist whose fresco Gimenez altered, are threatening another lawsuit seeking compensation for the piece’s destruction.