No Shit. A painting installation disappears in an opening in Colorado Museum. 26 of 31 paintings taken by visitors.
The cat is out of the bag, they have gone to the press, so now I can discuss and indeed complain about the events.
As you may know my art is an integral part of the traveling exhibition "Out of Sequence." It was in the Krannert Art Museum first, and the second venue is the Belmar Laboratory of Art and Ideas, a museum near Denver, Colorado. Link: http://www.belmarlab.org/
This is a great place, with many cutting edge shows. The opening for "Out of Sequence" was apparently enormous, more than 900 people and so on. I was not present. I wish I had been, because after the opening, they noticed that somehow 26 of my 31 paintings displayed in an installation/object had disappeared. Why no one noticed during the opening is beyond me.
Granted, my art is popular-looking, and my posters are regularly stolen and reappear framed elsewhere. I have grown to accept this as a compliment. But I have exhibited my small "Cover" paintings in circular spin racks in many venues, cities, even various countries, in museums, galleries, Kunsthallen and more, and never lost a single one.
Here, the director suggested, the people appear to have thought the works were gratis, to be taken. Although why someone would not notice that they are originals, with their clearly hand-painted qualities, surface facture and other haptic qualities --- and signature on the back --- I cannot fathom. Since they became aware of their lack of security in this instance, Belmar has put out a call for my art to please be returned, and had some success. Of the 26 works stolen, or accidentally relocated, only 14 are still stolen, thus 12 were recovered up till now.
I'm hoping for more. This is not about money. They are insured (although at their low end), so I would get paid, but I want the works. They are promised to other shows and indeed many to collectors. I am worried that if someone could think they were for free, they might simply discard them later. I put in a LOT of work on each one and they are a unit, in which many make reference to one another. Many of the Chicago and Illinois readers saw them either in Krannert Art Museum or in the Sharkpit.
I have made a limited edition print with a group of Covers in one image, signed and numbered it, and the Belmar will give one for every cover returned.
Here's the executive director Adam Lerner's email he sent out to those invited to the opening:
We gave away lots of free things to the 900 of you who came to The Lab's opening last night (7 gallons of dill pickles, a few dozen rocks, etc.), so we really don't blame those of you who mistakenly thought we were giving away those beautifully painted cards sitting in the magazine rack. But we need them back. Seriously, if you, or anyone you know, took home one of the paintings from Mark Brandl's magazine rack installation, we would be grateful if you could return it as soon as possible. It's very embarrassing to us and very unfortunate for the artist.
Contact the Lab at 303-934-1777 if you've got one or more of the cards. But don't worry about the pickles. They're all yours.
As Jillian Allison, Development Assistant wrote to me:
As of today we have sent out an email blast to our mailing list. There are postings on the website of a local free weekly paper, Westword and I am working with the writer to keep their information up to date. A small story also ran in the Denver Post-the daily paper. We are also using Facebook and Myspace-our pages and those of people involved in the exhibition-to post bulletins and get the word out. I will continue to look into other avenues for publicity.
Some of the places that have helpfully written about my dilemma: Attention Denver: DON'T STEAL THE FUCKING ART
By Andy Bosselman
Those cards weren't giveaways, Belmar attendees
By Michael Roberts in Word on the Street
The Belmar Blog is here: http://belmarblab.blogspot.com/
The Belmar facebook is here.
The Belmar MySpace is here.
If you can help in any way, please do so. I'm alternately hopeful and in shock. I have requested that our illustrious artist and lawyer Richard Holland keep up with the vents, in case I need his legal services. Thanks Richard.
(Andrei Molotiu posted about it here on Sharkforum for a short time period, but I had to postpone such discussion, as I had promised to give the director and crew a chance. He was not happy that I held his post back for what was to be a temporary time period. Sorry Andrei.)