— THE BIG STORY —
Attention, would-be art thieves: don't do it! Art crime doesn't pay, since you'll never be able to resell the hot work, and the whole sordid situation will just lead you down any number of dismal paths. As an object lesson, take the story of Radu Dogaru.
This week, that young Romanian man attracted worldwide attention when the audacious heist he and two others pulled at Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum went up in flames. The theft was committed early in the morning on October 16 when the trio smashed through a rear emergency exit at the Dutch institution and made off with seven paintings by Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Gauguin, Lucian Freud, and Meyer de Haan—a haul with an estimated value of tens of millions of dollars. Some time after allegedly taking two of these pieces to be "evaluated" by a curator a the Romanian National Art Museum, Dogaru and his confederates were arrested. This is when the true drama began.
Once Olga Dogaru, the thief's mother, heard of his arrest, she buried the seven stolen paintings in a graveyard—a move that would have immediately degraded their condition. Then, fearing that the authorities still might unearth them, giving them evidence against her son, she placed them in an oven and burned them. That, at least, is the story Olga has told investigators, who have asked scientists at Romania's National History Museum to conduct forensic tests on the ashes to determine if her account is true. It may be months before conclusive results are in.
The burning of the paintings would be "a barbarian crime against humanity," the National History Museum's director, Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu, told the New York Times. Well, that might be a little over the top. But think of the poor mother, whose love of her ne'er-do-well son led her to destroy a fortune in masterful artworks in a vain attempt to save him! Don't do that to your mom. Don't steal art. — Andrew M. Goldstein
— QUOTE OF THE WEEK —
“I thought the Minimalists were interesting, but I would get pissed at them for washing themselves of all emotion, including sexuality. They were so even and almost inhuman. It almost felt that because you couldn’t see or feel much vulnerability in their work — that you almost felt as though they had a kind of key to the truth.” — Artist Ursula von Rydingsvardin a sprawling profile by Julia Halperin about her robust sculptures, the gentrification of Bushwick, and the nuances of the growing art economy.
— MUST READ —
An Inspiring True Art Story — Facing steep budget cuts amid a government-wide push for austerity, Britain's Culture Secretary Maria Miller was able to argue for only a minor funding reduction using a savvy and compelling argument that won over conservatives: the arts are a proven economic driver. (Atlantic)
Picasso, Monet Paintings Go up in Smoke — The mother of a Romanian art thief has confessed to burning $130 million-worth of art by Picasso, Monet, and Lucien Freud. (ArtDaily)
Banned Matisse Interview to Be Published — The Getty will publish a previously unreleased 1941 interview with the Modernist painter that is over 300 pages long. (Artinfo)
Academics Censor Damien Hirst Photograph — Thirty-two years after it was shot, Hirst's shocking photograph With Dead Head—in which the artist smiles gleefully next to the severed head of a corpse—continues to provoke outrage, this time among academics at Leicester University. (Guardian)
See 20 Instagrams of Rappers Loving Art — Complex magazine continues its wall-to-wall coverage of the burgeoning art-hip-hop nexus with this fun slide show, which features such gems as a photo Nas took of the Mona Lisa. (Complex)
"Must Be Summer at the Warhol" — That's the deceptively sweet slogan attached to Marc USA's provocative ad campaign for the Warhol Museum's three summer exhibitions, containing edgy imagery and a “sense of dark humor” that museum director Eric Shiner says “will play well to the Pittsburgh audience." (NYT)
— ART MARKET —
Is Mayfair the New Chelsea? — The posh London neighborhood has been drawing the biggest New York galleries, with now Marian Goodman considering joining David Zwirner, Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, and Michael Werner in opening satellites there. (NYT)
Krugier Trove Heads to Christie's — The auction house has scored another coup in its rivalry with Sotheby's by landing the estate of venerated Swiss art dealer Jan Krugier, which will bring a body of work to New York salesroom in November that is expected to fetch some $175 million. (NYT)
Jay-Z's Imaginary "Picasso Baby" Collection Valued at $493 Million — This might be petty or academic to say, but this Forbes contributor who for some reason used auction records for Picasso, Rothko, Koons, and others to value the art the rapper namechecks in his new song/performative video could have benefitted from a better methodology. (Forbes)
Christie's Expands Into India — The auction house will hold its first sale in Mumbai in December. (Forbes)
Asian Art Market Asserts Its Own Identity — As Asian collectors take more risks, a new art market begins to appear that is "determined to assert its own tastes and preferences, with no regard for what some would call western diktats." (Guardian)
— IN & OUT —
François Pinault plans to exhibit a slice of his gargantuan contemporary art collection in Paris for the first time in October, when 50 of his works by Damien Hirst, Bill Viola, and others will go on view at La Conciergerie. (Telegraph)
The artists Gilbert & George are the latest to be tapped to create a billboard for Cecilia Alemani's High Line billboard program, with the edgy British art duo planning to show a 1984 photo presenting them surrounded by a bunch of hunks. (NYT)
ArtTable, the New York nonprofit supporting women in the art profession, has named museum veteran Ada Ciniglio as its new executive director, promoting her from a temporary role of acting director that she had filled since July of 2012. (Gallerist)
Glafira Rosales, better known as the art dealer whose selling of allegedly fake Ab-Ex artworks brought down the storied Knoedler Gallery, was indicted on Wednesday on counts including wire fraud and money laundering, and could stand to face 59 years in prison. (Reuters)