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The Con Artist: Pedo-Quilts, Reunited Artifacts, and Op Art Altercations
by Max Nesterak

Sew Wrong


Paul Yore, Photo: Jason South

Australian artist Paul Yore, known for his beautifully intricate quilts depicting children touching themselves while dancing around a huge penis, will appear in court this, um…, Valentine’s Day to face charges for, uh…, producing and possessing child pornography. Police seized the artist’s work, including his masterpiece, “Everything is F---ed” which was on display at the, um…, potentially catholic St Kilda’s Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts. The Age reported Police acted after receiving a complaint last September from a (definitely uncultured) concerned citizen about a work in which Yore (who totally does not look like a kiddy-fiddler) superimposed children’s faces onto naked adult bodies. But it’s not pedophilia, it’s art, right? The case is expected to challenge Australia’s definition of child pornography as well as the respectability of quilt-art. Yore describes his art as a practice in striving towards truth in throwing into question our restrictive bourgeois sensibilities towards desire (which the police obviously do not understand). His artist statement reads, “I want to imbue all I make with longing: for meaning, for a purpose, or simply for pleasure. Desire centres on the unattainable: a utopian ideal, something lost, or else something forbidden.” Wait, was that a confession? 



Photo by Angel Franco via The New York Times 

Interpol, Washington and Homeland Security patted each other on the back Tuesday at the Indian Consulate in New York to celebrate returning 3 missing artifacts to the government of India.  Appraised at $1.5 million, the found objects included a 350-pound sandstone statue that was on Interpol's list of the Top 10 stolen artworks since being lifted (how?) from a Rajasthan temple in 2009. According the to The New York Times, the artifacts made their way from India to Hong Kong, where they were sold to a London-based buyer who shipped them to New York. They were on their way to London last April when they were intercepted by authorities. 

The ceremony celebrated the return of just a fraction of looted Indian art that federal officials are still trying to sort out. Namely, the hoard of artifacts peddled by New York antiques dealer Subhash Kapoor, who’s accused of stealing around $100 million worth of ancient objects from India, Cambodia, and Pakistan. Kapoor, who’s been (allegedly) slinging stolen trade in New York City since 1974, is awaiting trial in a prison in India, leaving officials to tally up his plunder: Second-century sandstone sculpture: $15 million. 1,700-pound statue of Buddha’s head: $4.5 million. Uma bronze statue: $2.5 million. Notably, his loot didn’t just end up in the homes of the rich and famous. Kapoor also counted large national museums among his clientele including the National Gallery in Australia (21 pieces) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to whom he sold and donated numerous pieces (pay it forward, right?) 


Checkered Past-Modernism

Left: Rehberger's work in the Berlin national library (viaRight: Bridget Riley's 1961 Movement of Squares

Tobias Rehberger's large black-and-white Op art work in the Berlin national library will be unveiled, again, after it was covered up a year ago following a legal suit brought on by British Painter Bridget Riley, who claimed Rehberger plagiarized her 1961 Movement of Squares. While it’s hard to stomach Riley having the rights to black-and-white checkers, in her defense, they do look exactly the same. Seriously, they’re mirror images of each other, and they both start to move if you look at them long enough. The Art Newspaper reported the agreement reached last month that allows the work to stay  in the library so long as it carries the caption: "Uhrenobject nach Movement in Squares von Bridget Riley" (clock object after Movement in Squares by Bridget Riley). The work is Rehberger's first in a four-part (unoriginal) series commissioned by the national library. 

The con artist is a weekly series on the art world’s dark-side of deception, intrigue, and fucked-uppery. Have a tip? Email max [at] artslant [dot] com. 

Posted by Max Nesterak on 1/17/14 | tags: pop installation mixed-media sculpture abstract con artist theft crime Art subhash kapoor st kilda's linden centre for contemporary arts paul yore berlin national library movement of square bridget riley tobia rehberger

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