BgArt News Blog
Saturday, May 31, 2008
  Italian Artist Killed in Turkey
artist killed in turkeyThe 33 year old Italian performance artist Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo (Pippa Bacca) was recently killed during her "Brides on Tour" project. The artist was hitchhiking through Turkey in a white wedding dress to promote peace in the Middle
East. 38 year old Turkish man Murat Karatas was arrested for the murder and sexual assault of the artist.

They would have no set timetable. They would require very little in the way of funding. They would make new friends everywhere. They would, in the largest sense, be free. When they arrived in Istanbul, Moro and Bacca were two weeks into their journey. They had already traveled by road through the Balkans; after Turkey, they were heading to Syria and Lebanon; their final destination, still weeks away, was Israel. There, they planned to stage an exhibition whose centerpiece would be the white gowns they had worn on the road, tattered and tattooed with the dust of the long journey. LA Times
Friday, May 30, 2008
  Bill Henson Nude Teen Controversy
australian young girl photo controversyAn exhibition by the Australian photographer Bill Henson was recently raided by police in Sydney, Australia. The Henson exhibition included images of a naked 13 year old girl. Photographs were taken and police are now investigating the matter.

The announcement came as an online forensic expert said there was "no doubt" the controversial photographs had already made their way on to pedophile websites. "I'd be very surprised if the photos are not already (on pedophilia sites)," said law academic and computer forensic examiner Ajoy Ghosh, who has worked on several child pornography investigations. The Age

I have mixed feelings about the controversy. He does make beautiful photos but I don't think artists are above the law. If it's wrong for a kiddie porn website to have photos of underage nude girls on them, it should be wrong for an art gallery to hang them. But I don't like rules or the law very much either, so who knows.

Update: I'm lazy and couldn't be bothered replying to anymore emails about the Bill Henson photo so I have covered up two of the more provocative bits of the photo. I won't be taking the photo down unless you have a badge and are kicking my door down though, so please don't ask me to. If you have an opinion to express on the Bill Henson teen photo, share it with us all by leaving a comment on this post.
>> Photography, Australia, Controversial News
  Adolf Hitler and the Chapman Brothers
chapman brothers hitler paintingsBrothers Jake and Dinos Chapman have added some psychodelic rainbows and and hearts to their Adolf Hitler paintings that they bought at auction for £115,000 and are now selling them for £685,000. The paintings which will be sold as one work is called "If Hitler had been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be"

He hoped the defacement of Hitler's work, which includes landscapes, vistas of Roman ruins and still life, which the dictator painted when he was young, would have him "spinning". The changes they had added meant it was no longer Hitler's work, he added.
"If hell exists and Hitler exists in it, he would be spinning if he saw these. It's not his work any more. It's our work," he said.

The Chapman brothers' exhibition can be seen at the White Cube Gallery in London.
>> Exhibitions, Controversies
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
  Travel Photos
Posting has been a little light lately as I have been doing some travel. I'm in a place called Byron Bay, which I went to a couple of years ago.

Here's a few holiday snaps..

A possum looking for something to eat. He also keeps me awake at night by jumping on my roof!
australian possum

A place called Minyon Falls.
minyon falls

Here's a sunset from a cafe at a place called the Chrystal Castle.
byron bay sunset

Here's another view from Minyon Falls.
minyon falls

View from near the Byron Bay lighthouse.
byron bay lighthouse

I'll try and post a little bit more art news than I have been.
Friday, May 23, 2008
  More on Lucian Freud's Big Sue Painting
The Freakonomics Blog has interviewed the arts writer Olav Velthuis and the University of Chicago professor David Galenson about the price paid for Lucian Freud's "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping". I found it interesting that the $33.6 million paid for the painting would keep the United States in gasoline for 20 minutes.

Here's a couple quotes from the interview here.

"Freud’s paintings are much more interesting in person than in reproduction; they are built up of layers of paint, over the course of dozens of sittings, and a lot of their interest comes from subtle visual effects involving the texture of the paint." David Galenson

"To put it mildly, it is striking that art still fetches these record prices. I had expected the art market to collapse even before the financial crisis started. Of course, what’s difficult about prices for art is that they have no 'fundamental value,' unlike, for instance, real estate prices or stocks." Olav Velthuis
>> Lucian Freud, Art Collecting
Sunday, May 18, 2008
  Most Expensive Living Artist - Lucian Freud
most exspensive living artist
Lucian Freud has become the most expensive living artist at auction with his "Big Sue" painting. The large naked woman painted on a couch is called "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" and sold for $33.6m or £17.2m at Christies last week. The sitter is Sue Tilley and she sat for Freud over a four year period.

I'm so glad that a painterly painter now holds the title of the most expensive living artist at auction. Big shiny hearts and pill cabinets might be interesting but how can they compare to a painting by a living master?! Of course I'm biased as I'm a painter too, but who isn't biased?

The London based Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich is said to be the buyer of Lucian Freud's Big Sue and Francis Bacon's triptych (which sold for $86.3 million or £43 million)
>> Lucian Freud News, Art Collecting, Art Auctions
Saturday, May 17, 2008
  List of Artist Scammers and Fraudsters
I know I keep mentioning art scams and the emails that artists receive, but they continue to help artists that are new to the internet. So, I thought I would create a post with the art scammer's name and email. I'll update this post with new names, aliases and emails of the scummy excuses for human beings and hopefully it will prevent a lot of artists from being ripped off.

Please send me the name and email of any art scam emails that you receive and I will add it to this post. If artists are suspicious and do a Google search for the person (poor excuse for one), I hope they find this post! Please link to this post and/or tell your artist friends about it.

The way they work is to send you a check/cheque that is much larger than the amount you agreed on for your art. They ask you to send the extra money back to them, just before you find out that their check is fake. Insist on using payment methods like or and they will leave you alone.


(scammers are arranged alphabetically by their first name)

Bikram Shrestha -
Claire -
Claire Pink -
Crewford -
Crystal Moll -
Dave Frank -
Francis Morgan for Expressmover
Garritt Miller -
George Craige -
Hanks Thomas -
Henry Matt -
James Carter
Jane Francis -
Janet Brand -
Janet Francis -
Janet Gillian -
Janet Rumsey -
Janet Vida -
Jeff Carter for Expressmover -
Jeff Moll
Jessica -
Johnson Mark -
Kim Bauer -
Lisa Benson - , and
Nicole Danes -
Nicole Roane -
Precious -
Raymond Hyslop - and
Robert Cole -
Sandra Haddock -
Sandra Williams -
Steven Pallin -
Susan Cutter -
Swane Mackerel -
Tina Brown -

>> Art Scam News
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
  Robert Rauschenberg Dead at 82
Robert Rauschenberg Dies - Canyon PaintingThe NY Times has just reported that the American artist Robert Rauschenberg has died at the age of 82. Rauschenberg passed away on Monday night in his home. Recently the artist was hospitalized with pneumonia.

Here's a paragraph from the NY Times article.. "Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life."

The story that I mentioned on BgArt News Blog a couple of weeks ago about Robert Rauschenberg suing an artist seems so trivial after hearing this terrible news.
>> Artist Deaths
Monday, May 12, 2008
  Tobias Meyer - Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction
Here's an interesting link to a video of Tobias Meyer of Sotheby's talking about some important works from their upcoming contemporary art auction on Wednesday. He talks about a large triptych by Francis Bacon which is expected to sell for a figure with lots of zeros on the end of it. You can also browse the catalogue online (I think you still have to register to view them, but it's free).

francis bacon triptych

I like the left and right panel of the painting, but the center panel is an out of control mess..

Here's my picks from the auction (if only my bank account had more zeros on the end of the total).

georg baselitz painting
One of my favorite German painters. I like his upside down paintings more, but this is a beauty too.

richard prince nurse painting
To be honest, I'm not a big Richard Prince fan, but I really do like his Nurse Paintings.
>> Art Auctions
Thursday, May 08, 2008
  Spencer Tunick in Vienna, Austria
Spencer Tunick NudesNew York photographer and flesh architect Spencer Tunick is rallying the troops again. Tunick is planning a shoot in Vienna, Austria, at the Ernst-Happel-Stadium. He is hoping to get more than 3000 participants to the Vienna football stadium on Sunday, May 11.

Here's some more details from the Spencer Tunick website here..

The first 2,008 registered participants will receive a free return train ticket (coach) within Austria from the ÖBB. Arrival is possible as of May 10, 2008, departure until Sunday, May 11, 11.59 pm. The affirmation for your return journey will be certified at the Ernst-Happel-Stadium in the scope of the installation.

In return for your voluntary participation all participants will receive a limited edition photograph of the installation in the Ernst-Happel-Stadium.

Only participants will have access to the stadium. You will only be nude for a short period of time. The installation will happen Rain or Shine (the stadium's seats are covered). Participants under 18 years of age may only take part in the installation with written consent of a parent or guardian.
>> Spencer Tunick News
Monday, May 05, 2008
  Jeff Koons Interview
Jeff Koons InterviewArtInfo has interviewed the king of kitsch and holder of the "Most expensive artist at auction" title, Jeff Koons.

Here's a couple Jeff Koons quotes taken from the interview over at the ArtInfo website here.

* "When you view work, it’s not just an intellectual experience. It’s also a physical, biological experience. People like work that makes them feel a certain way. I want my work to have a certain charge, and I think that people who view the work like it, that intensity." Jeff Koons

* "For me, art has been about living to my full potential and about having viewers increase theirs. My work has always tried to communicate acceptance. It’s not about a rarefied object, because art is about people, life, experience. It’s about giving attention to the viewer so that hopefully they maintain enough confidence to experience communication." Jeff Koons

The artist also has a decent website online, which is surprisingly unusual for a famous artist. I haven't been able to figure out why so many well known artists don't have their own website. Most of them don't even own their own dot com name. I thought the internet was important, but I guess they don't see it that way.
>> Jeff Koons News
Saturday, May 03, 2008
  Bank of America - Museums on Us
Bank of America has changed how its "Museums on Us" program operates this year. Last year the bank paid for museum entries around America for the whole month of May. This year they have added more museums to the list, but it is now year round, with the first weekend of every month being free to holders of a Bank of America check, ATM or credit card.

Here's a list of the participating museums around the United States..

Arizona Science Center

California Center for the Arts Escondido
The California Museum
Crocker Art Museum
de Young Museum
Discovery Science Center
Explorit Science Center
Laguna Beach Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Mingei International Museum
Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of Latin American Art
Palm Springs Art Museum
Riverside Art Museum
San Jose Museum of Art
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Tech Museum of Innovation
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Mashantucket Pequot Museum
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Delaware Art Museum
Delaware Museum of Natural History
Winterthur Museum & Country Estate

Miami Art Museum
Miami Children's Museum
Miami Science Museum
The Morikami Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
Museum of Discovery & Science
South Florida Science Museum

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta History Center
Fernbank Museum of Natural History

The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago History Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The Farnsworth Art Museum

Danforth Museum of Art
DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The American Visionary Art Museum
The Flag House and Star Spangled Banner Museum
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The Detroit Zoo
Henry Ford Museum

Liberty Science Center
Montclair Art Museum
The Newark Museum

Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium
International Center of Photography
The Jewish Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York Hall of Science

Levine Museum of the New South
Mint Museum of Art
Mint Museum of Craft and Design

National Constitution Center
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Museum of Work and Culture
Providence Children's Museum
The RISD Museum

Dallas Museum of Art
Fort Worth Museum of Science & History
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Museum of Nature & Science, Dallas
San Jacinto Museum of History

Museum of History & Industry
Tacoma Art Museum
The Wing Luke Museum

There's more information on Bank of America's Museums on Us program at their website here.
>> Art Museums
Friday, May 02, 2008
  Most Expensive Living Artists at Auction
Update: Lucian Freud is now the most expensive living artist at auction with his Big Sue painting.

Over at the Art Newspaper there's an interesting story about the most expensive living artists at auction, with the baton being passed from Jasper Johns, to Damien Hirst, and now Jeff Koons.

"When the art market of the late eighties transmogrified into a deeply depressed bear, the living artist accolade went into hibernation, sleeping soundly until February 2007, when Peter Doig’s 1991 painting, White Canoe, sold for £5.7m ($11.3m) at Sotheby’s in London." Art Newspaper

False Start Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns - False Start
Jasper Johns was the most expensive living artist at auction in 1988, when his White Flag painting sold for $7 million at Christies, then his False Start painting (above) sold at Sotheby's the next night for $17 million. He held the title for quite some time..

Lullaby Spring Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst - Lullaby Spring
Damien Hirst took the title in 2007 when his Lullaby Spring sold for about $19.2 million. The Hirst pill cabinet was bought by the royal family of Qatar, the Al-Thani family.

Heart Hanging Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons - Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)
Jeff Koons is currently the most expensive living artist at auction, with his Hanging Heart work selling for $23.6 million in Novemebr 2007.

And, here's some great quotes about the price of art by the art critic Robert Hughes..

"The auction room, as anyone knows, is an excellent medium for sustaining fictional price levels, because the public imagines that auction prices are necessarily real prices." Robert Hughes

"Art prices are determined by the meeting of real or induced scarcity with pure, irrational desire, and nothing is more manipulable than desire." Robert Hughes

"Most of the time they buy what other people buy. They move in great schools, like bluefish, all identical. There is safety in numbers. If one wants Schnabel, they all want Schnabel, if one buys a Keith Haring, two hundred Keith Harings will be sold." Robert Hughes

"A fair price is the highest one a collector can be induced to pay." Robert Hughes

>> Art Auctions, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Famous Artists
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