Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One of the best things I've read in a long long time


You really should click the link, but if you don't, here is a quote from the article, about a museum that collects serious but terrible artwork:

"The loss of two MOBA works to theft has drawn media attention, and enhanced the museum's stature.[5][21][22] In 1996, the painting Eileen, by R. Angelo Le, vanished from MOBA. Eileen was acquired from the trash by Wilson, and features a rip in the canvas where someone slashed it with a knife even before the museum acquired it, "adding an additional element of drama to an already powerful work", according to MOBA.[23]

The museum offered a reward of $6.50 for the return of Eileen, and although MOBA donors later increased that reward to $36.73, the work remained unrecovered for many years.[24] The Boston Police listed the crime as "larceny, other",[5] and Sacco was reported saying she was unable to establish a link between the disappearance of Eileen and a notorious heist at Boston’s famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that occurred in 1990.[25][26] In 2006—10 years after Eileen was stolen—MOBA was contacted by the purported thief demanding a $5,000 ransom for the painting; no ransom was paid, but it was returned anyway.[27]

Prompted by the theft of Eileen, MOBA staff installed a fake video camera over a sign at their Dedham branch reading: "Warning. This gallery is protected by fake video cameras".[28] Despite this deterrent, in 2004 Rebecca Harris' Self Portrait as a Drainpipe was removed from the wall and replaced with a ransom note demanding $10, although the thief neglected to include any contact information.[29] Soon after its disappearance the painting was returned, with a $10 donation.[30] Curator Michael Frank speculates that the thief had difficulty fencing the portrait because "reputable institutions refuse to negotiate with criminals."[30]"

Next time I'm anywhere near Massachusetts, guess where I'll be visiting first....

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