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This Week in Art Crime


A new campaign hopes to raise awareness about the prevalence of catcalling, which some international studies show between 70 to 99 percent of women face at some point in their lives. New street signs have been posted around New York City by the non-profit Feminist Apparel in conjunction with Anti-Street Harassment Week. Alan Martofel, founder of the clothing company, told HuffPost this is the first community-based activist campaign completely funded through sales of t-shirts on the company’s website.

There are more than 50 signs up around the city



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Italian police are trying to establish the true owner of a Picasso painting worth €15 m (£11m) after confiscating it from a pensioner who says he was given it for free.

The Rome resident, a former frame-maker, told detectives he received the work in 1978 as a thank-you gift for an act of kindness towards a recently bereaved customer.

A widower had come into his shop in a state of distress after breaking a photo frame in which he kept a picture of his late wife. Touched, the frame-maker replaced the glass for free.

Two days later, the elderly customer returned to the workshop and presented him with the Picasso, without giving any indication of its value or artistic significance.

According to the frame-maker’s story, it was only last year that he realized the 54cm x 45cm oil-on-canvas could be a Picasso, police said.


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Art Lima

Things are heating up in the run up to the third edition of Art Lima, Peru’s top contemporary art fair, and not in a good way.

A number of participants in the fair—slated to take place on April 23-26—have pulled out to protest against a series of actions carried out by the mayor of Lima, Luis Castañeda Lossio, which they consider are attacking freedom of expression.

The problems began when Castañeda Lossio ordered the cover-up of several street art murals across the city, including one depicting the indigenous revolutionary Túpac Katari, which caused outrage in Lima’s artistic community, PBS reported.

So when the art fair made public a sponsorship agreement with the Municipality of Lima, led by Castañeda Lossio, on March 17, several participants pulled out from the fair immediately.


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Valtice Castle

A former manager of the Valtice Castle, a baroque UNESCO Heritage Site in the Czech Republic, has become the main suspect in a police investigation into the disappearance of 58 paintings left in the castle’s care, Der Standard reports.

The South Moravian castle is home to an annual art show titled “Large Format.” The last edition hosted artists from six countries, and 39 of them are now missing their artworks. The combined value of the 58 missing paintings is estimated at €170,000 ($185,000).

The castle manager initially told police detectives that the artworks had disappeared. Police thus first searched for a gang of art robbers. “We had expected to find an organized ring of art looters who’d sell the artwork in Prague and abroad,” a Czech police spokesperson told the media.

Instead, police found broken frames and partially burnt canvases, and suspicion quickly switched to the castle manager himself. The manager claims not to have known what the paintings were worth. The motives remain mysterious.



Lies and Videotape


In the best documentary films, artifice isn’t an obstacle to truth, it’s a way in

The great irony of so-called nonfiction cinema is that it is often more willfully deceptive, in its form if not its content, than fiction filmmaking. The skills required to sell the audience on a version of reality in both fiction and nonfiction filmmaking are all ultimately at the service of illusion and deceit, sleight of hand and the flick of a wand. As non-fiction techniques have come to dominate television programming since the late 90s, audiences have become as increasingly used to the time compression and sequence reordering. They’ve grown accustomed to editing cues that inform us of “winner” and “loser” narratives as Colson Whitehead recently put it. Yet by filming often underrepresented subjects in their natural habitats, by reenacting past events that are purported to have happened, the serious documentary filmmaker hasn’t necessarily moved any closer to truth than the reality TV carnival barker. In our second great irony, the documentaries that grasp literal truths and create emotional ones are those that are mindful and conscious of the lies they must tell us to do so.

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Sunday Reading


Karen Gregory:


Bint Battuta:

Kerim Friedman:


Reclaim UC: