- Weirdness and WTFness abound as a stolen pen-and-ink drawing, supposedly by Rembrandt, is held by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department amid concerns about whether it rightly belonged to the Bay Area-based Linearis Institute. Entitled “The Judgment,” the purloined drawing, which was deposited with no explanation in the office of a priest in Encino, CA two weeks ago, fails to appear in most exhaustive catalogues of Rembrandt’s work. Even as they concede that they have no sales history to substantiate their right of ownership, Linearis insists that investigators return it to them, refusing to “jump through hoops” to authenticate their claim on the drawing, valued at $250,000. Times when I suddenly become willing to jump through hoops: when it will get me a $250,000 drawing.
- Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the director who oversaw some of the more controversial selections for the ChÃ¢teau de Versailles, is being replaced as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 65. Known for moderately provocative exhibitions of work by Jeff Koons in 2006 and Takashi Murakami in 2009 that put France’s nationalist sentiment into DEFCON 2, Aillagon will be leaving his post “with regret” at the end of the month. He will be succeeded by former Le Point editor Catherine Pégard, a one-time Sarkozy aide with no experience running a museum. It doesn’t sound like cronyism at all.
- Inter-class posturing and hip hop hyperbole ensue as landlord Jerry Wolkoff has begun discussion of razing a building at 45-46 Davis Street in Queens. The building, known as 5Pointz, which features graffiti murals visible from the above-ground #7 subway line, is referred to by supporter Marie Flageul as “the United Nations of graffiti.” By this, we guess she means that it draws a lot of tourists and probably takes itself too seriously.
- Animator and avant-guarde filmmaker Robert Breer has died. Breer, whose career spanned more than five decades, was a peer of Fernand Léger and collaborator of Claes Oldenberg. In 1987, the American Film Institute awarded him the Maya Deren award for independent film and video artists. The inventive use of color and abstraction in his film Fuji (1974), which enacted a voyage by train around the eponymous mountain in Japan, was recognized in 2002 when it got inducted into US Library of Congress National Film Registry.
- Peter Hionas, described as the “fitness guru to the art elite,” now has a running gallery adjacent to his Tribeca studio, an extension of the art collection that has adorned his private workout area over the years. Some of us might be offended by the thought of the paintings and sculptures being mere decorations for rooms in which the well-off get toned. It sounds gross. And yet, this isn't the first we've heard of athletically-inspired activities in art galleries (Hrag Vartanian wrote about yoga classes springing up in museums across the country in 2009). Maybe this isn’t as shallow as it sounds. We should restrain our snark and give this guy a chance, right?
“I'm a sculptor of the body,” he says. “If they're a good artist, they have a great understanding of what it takes to make a picture. My job is to tell them, 'your body is your next piece of art. Your paints are now your foods.' Once they understand that, it's not really about time, but about completing the canvas.”
- Never mind.