Posted in Uncategorized, tagged 1990, art, artist, boston, degas, fbi, heist, insurance, isabella stewart gardner, museum, postaday, rembrandt, thief, thieves, vermeer on April 10, 2013 |
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Photo from FBI site: An empty frame in the Dutch Room of the Gardner Museum, where Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black once hung.
The agent overseeing the FBI investigation into the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist spoke at my workplace today (a real perk of my job).
I learned a lot. Did you know, for example, that because Mrs. Gardner’s will specified that no art was to be moved, sold, or replaced, the paintings had no insurance? They were not be replaced. The agent said that the usual scenario is that stolen art is held for ransom from the insurance company. The thieves probably didn’t dream that there was no insurance on Rembrandts and Vermeers.
Our speaker was quite entertaining (for example, showing a slide from the Simpsons cartoon in which Vermeer’s The Concert is found in Montgomery Burns’s mansion ). He answered many questions and punted others as the investigation is ongoing.
As you may have seen recently, the FBI announced that they knew who had stolen the art and at least two of the places it had been seen. They have not announced the names of the thieves but may do so once they work through all the leads the latest announcement has brought. The statute of limitations ran out on the theft after five years (Mass. Senator Ted Kennedy subsequently pushed through a federal law extending the limit to 20 years), but possession of stolen art is a crime not subject to time limits.
I learned that the museum had good security. As most locals know, the guards let the thieves in believing they were cops. When you have a Trojan Horse inside, security doesn’t help, the agent said. Nowadays guards in different museums call each other every 20 minutes just to check.
Extensive research has shown there has never been a museum theft like this, where the thieves stole so much of value and also so much of little value and took a leisurely 81 minutes to do so.
And perhaps there has never been a crime at a major museum where the paintings were not insured.
The agent believes the art will be recovered one day. Read the FBI dedicated site, here.
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About a year ago we had the great pleasure of attending a panel discussion featuring Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. We took our seats at the New Yorker magazine’s lecture series, and because I had read his novel Snow, I was expecting someone quite dour and grim.
Instead he was hugely entertaining and funny as he talked about literature and his latest project, creating a museum to replicate one he had invented for his 2008 novel, The Museum of Innocence.
Writes Gareth Harris in the September 2010 Art Newspaper, “Turkey’s most famous living novelist is holding a pair of dentures in a room packed with ephemera reflecting everyday Turkish life of the past three decades. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2006 and author of My Name is Red (1998) and Snow (2002), is standing among a sea of objects—sewing machines, clocks, soda-bottle tops, buttons, lottery tickets, china dogs, birdcages, cigarette lighters and false teeth—that will soon go on display in The Museum of Innocence, a four-storey building in the Çukurcuma neighbourhood, central Istanbul. This venue, not just a chamber of curiosities, is the real-life incarnation of the museum painstakingly assembled and detailed in his book The Museum of Innocence (2008).”
I expect that, for someone who has read the novel, the museum experience will be both delightful and unnerving. I know I felt delighted and unnerved years ago after reading a nonfiction book about a Rhode Island community and then trying to reconcile the characters who had seemed so real with the people who had been described. Storybook characters coming to life. At first the real people seem shadows. Then as you get to know them, the storybook characters become the shadows, superficially imagined imitations.
April 30, 2012, update here.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged alienation, art, artist, charles burchfield, Charles Sheeler, edward hopper, gallery, george tooker, grant wood, isolation, magritte, museum, one act, play, subway, theater, tom stoppard, whitney museum, yves tanguy on November 25, 2011 |
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We went downtown to have lunch at the Whitney Museum with friends and to take in the Real/Surreal exhibit.
Favorite artists like Charles Sheeler, Mardsen Hartley, and Grant Wood were featured. I liked the eerie emptiness of Edward Hopper’s “Seventh Avenue” and the anxious denizens of George Tooker’s subway world.
Sounds unnerving, but in surfacing the alienation, I think the artists make one feel the possibility of getting a grip on it.
Afterward, we walked up Madison, stopping at a gallery in the Carlyle Hotel that was showing Magritte works, some for sale.
I have always liked Magritte, with his bowler-hatted men blocked by giant green apples and his nighttime streets overarched by daytime skies. And I especially like him because once in a workshop, I directed a Tom Stoppard one-act play inspired by him, After Magritte. It was the best fun!
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged american wing, art, Arthur Dove, artist, boston, Calder mobiles, Charles Sheeler, contemporary art, dale chihuly, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Marsden Hartley, museum, museum of fine arts, photography, Weegie on November 11, 2011 |
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My workplace closes down on Veterans Day, so today my husband and I finally got a chance to visit the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts.
I didn’t realize that people bring cameras to museums now and take pictures of whatever they like. Is that allowed? For this post, I wanted to use a particular painting I saw today, but after trying the MFA site and searching the Internet, all I could find was a bootlegged photo for sale at Flickr. Fortunately, I did buy an MFA postcard that I was able to photograph at home.
This is a Louis Comfort Tiffany-designed stained glass window of parakeets and a goldfish bowl.
My favorite floor was the third, though. There we saw some great 20th Century art: Calder mobiles, a Jackson Pollock, works by Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, the photographer Weegie, and more. Although the MFA also has a new gallery of contemporary art in a different part of the building, I liked the selections on the third floor of the Americas wing best.
At lunch we ate in the new dining area, a large, beautiful space that combines both classical and modern styles comfortably and features a tall, green, glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly.
The food was very good.
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