Mr. Brainwash Gets Sued by Run DMC, Eric Clapton's "Magic" Guitars Make $2.15 Million at Bonhams, and More Must-Read Art News

Mr. Brainwash Gets Sued by Run DMC, Eric Clapton's "Magic" Guitars Make $2.15 Million at Bonhams, and More Must-Read Art News

Run DMC VS. MBW: Some people may still believe that street artist Mr. Brainwash is a mere figment of Banksy's imagination, but he's real enough to be hit with a copyright infringement suit. He is being sued by the photographer behind a 1985 image of rap group Run DMC, which Mr. Brainwash (aka Thierry Guetta) riffed off of for the chronically uninspired art, prints, and promotional material for his 2008 break-out exhibition in Los Angeles (the one captured in "Exit Through the Gift Shop"). [TAN



Strange Brew Indeed: Why did people spend $2.15 million on several guitars owned by Eric Clapton at a Bonhams charity auction? Because, researchers say, of the power of "celebrity contagion" and "imitative magic" — beliefs that some of the talent or power of a previous owner will rub off on the possessor. This even applies to an exact replica of Clapton's guitar, which reproduces even the scratches and cigarette burns.


Pina Bausch Dances Head to the Olympics: The late choreographer's cycle of 10 works corresponding to cities and countries will be performed in London in the lead-up to the Olympic games, as a collaboration between Sadler's Wells and the Barbican. [Guardian]


Grim News: A National Endowment for the Arts study shows that African-American and Latino participation in the arts has been declining since 1982, probably because of the plunging availability of arts education. [LAT

Dead Birds Obscure Art Treasure: The National Arts Club in New York has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately thanks to the squirrelly antics of its president, Aldon James, and his twin brother, John, but it bears remembering that the institution also plays an important role in art. Aside from its adventurous contemporary art programing, its also home to people like Will Barnet, a still-working artist at 99 years old who is a living chapter of 20th-century art history: as a teacher at the Art Students League for nearly half a century, he taught Rothko printmaking, made prints for José Clemente Orozco, and taught everyone from Romare Bearden and James Rosenquist to Eva Hesse and Cy Twombly. []

Winning!: Mexican museum proprietor Carlos Slim has again been named the richest billionaire in the world by Forbes on account of his $74 billion fortune and holdings that include 66,000 works of art. [AFP]

Ah, Journalism: Speaking of Forbes, that bastion of financial reporting has published a piece speculating that Lily Safra was the buyer of the $104.3 million Giacometti "Walking Man" sculpture at Sotheby's, entirely based on this information: "A knowledgeable dealer says two people reported seeing the sculpture in Safra's home, 'but I don't trust them so much.'" [Forbes

Speaking of Journalism: About a year after it happened, the Wall Street Journal calls its readers' attention to the "spirited discussion" triggered in Detroit by a local gallery's decision to remove a Banksy work from an abandoned plant. "That discussion may be continuing but, after nearly a year, it's probably a stretch to say it remains 'spirited,'" remarks Michigan Live, adding "The most interesting thing about the Journal’s Banksy story is the lack of any real 'news peg.'" [MLive

Lady Gaga's Artsy Meat Dress: Here is the story behind the fleshy gown that the pop diva wore to last year's VMAs (and which we noted at the time was laden with art-historical references). "I don't consider myself an artist, but I thought of the Canadian artist who wore a dress made of meat and then let it decay in the museum," said Franc Fernandez who designed and sewed the garment, referring to Jana Sterbak (Christopher Knight nailed this one). "I liked that — a dress that changes over time. I thought of Damien Hirst, letting a cow’s head decay so that every time you saw it, it was a different sculpture — one day you’d be there and the eye socket would be filled with maggots, another time something else." In case you were wondering, the prime cut of couture is now going to be taxidermied. [Meat Paper]

Why Detroit Could Really Use a Robocop Statue: Eighties-movie enthusiast Patrick Cassels has taken to the virtual pages of Slate to argue that the robot policeman would make a great sculptural ambassador for the city. "I admit, at first glance, a hard-R shoot-'em-up dripping with Verhoeven's trademark gory excess might be the last 102 minutes of film you'd want people to associate with your municipality," he says. "But behind the film's grim outlook, its insane levels of violence, its not-completely-necessary profanity, RoboCop addresses some of Detroit's most challenging issues, issues that were pressing in 1987 and remain so today." [Slate]

Hungary Nixes Development of Budapest Museum: The Museum of Fine Arts will not receive a planned 8,000-square-meter extension beneath Heroes' Square. [TAN]