Master Forger Reveals Vast Web of Fakes, Medici Venus's Sexy Secret, and More Must-Read Art News

Master Forger Reveals Vast Web of Fakes, Medici Venus's Sexy Secret, and More Must-Read Art News
Venus de' Medici

– Master Forger Paints Himself as Art-Market SupervillainWolfgang Beltracchi may have been sentenced to six years in prison but he is still having a laugh at the art world. The German art forger was convicted in October of counterfeiting 14 paintings including works by Fernand Léger and Max Ernst, achieving some notoriety for fooling actor Steve Martin. Now he claims that he forged works by some 50 different artists and that due to the market's insatiable demand he may have produced from 1,000 to 2,000 fake works that are still on the market. Can you be sure that the masterpiece on your wall is not a Beltracchi? [Der Spiegel

 Venus's Original Outfit Uncovered: Chemical analysis of the 2,000-year-old "Medici Venus" displayed at Florence's Uffizi Galleries provides proof positive that, far from being a model of decorum, the all-white marble statue was once dressed to party. In Roman times, her lips were ruby red, her hair covered with gold leaf, and earrings hung through holes in her earlobes. All traces of colour were removed during an overenthusiastic restoration in the early 19th century. [Telegraph]


– More Controversy for 9/11 Museum: Families of some of the victims of September 11 have voiced opposition to a plan for storing human remains below the planned museum at Ground Zero, saying that they believe the remains should be placed in a tomb above ground, and that putting them deep within the museum is disrespectful to the dead. This isn't the first roadblock for the 9/11 Museum: it is also currently locked in a dispute over funding. [LAT]

– Whitney Gets Buzzy: From the Strange-But-True department: As part of a worldwide urban beekeeping movement, the Whitney Museum is installing beehives on its rooftop. The Whit is not the only museum to join the craze — across the Pond, the Tate's roof honey is sold in its gift shop. Adam Weinberg, who also had beekeepers install hives on the roof of his own brownstone, has asked artist Kiki Smith to design a label for the Whitney's honey. [New Yorker]

– Warhol Went to Church?: Music PR maven Susan Blond, who threw a baby out the window in Andy Warhol's movie "Bed" and became friends with the Pop artist during is heyday in New York, says in an interview that he "went to Church every Sunday." [AM New York]

– Legendary Czech Villa Reopens: The long-neglected Tugendhat villa has reopened to the public after a $9.2 million restoration project. The UNESCO world heritage site, which was built by the last director of the Bauhaus school of design, was occupied by the Gestapo during WWII and then ravaged by Soviet troops. [Bloomberg]

– Calling All Angels: A Dutch couple placed a cell phone in the hands of a recently-unveiled statue of an angel outside a cathedral in the Netherlands. Now, the sculpture, by Dutch artist Ton Mooy, receives about 30 calls a day from people in need, all answered by an anonymous woman. Unsurprisingly, the calls became much more frequent around the holidays. [NYT]   

– Melvan for Sale: Attention '80s rock fans: the Melvins' first tour van, which features a hand-drawn mural by Kurt Cobain, is now for sale on eBay. The bid is currently up to $4.9 million, with 18 people still bidding. [Audio Ink]

– Restoring Stereotypes: A plan to recreate a mural in San Antonio that was removed in the 1960s after Mexican-American activists protested its racist imagery is now generating protests of its own. Not surprisingly, the mural's imagery — which included a Mexican figure sleeping with a sombrero over his face and another standing with a burro — is still considered offensive by many. [Yahoo

– High Line Air Fetches High Prices: The value of the air rights adjacent to New York City's High Line park have reached stratospheric levels. A square foot of air alongside the elevated park is now worth $500, or $125 more than the dirt beneath it — typically, Manhattan air rights cost half the price of the land under them. [NYPost]

– Ansel Adams Trove Goes to the Getty: The California institution has received a 25-photograph "Museum Set" by Ansel Adams from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin. Adams allowed collectors to select 25 images from a collection of 2,500 negatives, dubbing the small grouping a "Museum Set." [Art Market Monitor]

– Museum Investments Pay Off: The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions has announced that, in the UK, museums that have been recently refurbished are also the most popular. At 141 percent, Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland has seen the country's largest increase in visitors after a £47 million ($74.38 million) redevelopment. Still, the sturdy British Museum remains the most popular gallery for the fifth consecutive year with 5,848,534 visitors. [Press Release]

– ForYourArt Gets a Project SpaceForYourArt, a Web site which markets itself as a definitive guide to the Los Angeles art world, has secured a storefront on Wilshire Boulevard across from LACMA that will function as a gallery and conference space. [Press Release]


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