Headlines: Matthew, Dash Snow and Frieze
1) Five Dutch Paintings Returned After a Decade Missing
Five artworks from the Dutch Golden Age have been recovered and returned to the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, Netherlands, after being stolen in January of 2005. The original theft, which is thought to have been perpetrated by thieves who hid in a coffin that was being displayed in the museum until after closing, included 24 paintings and 70 pieces of silverware, worth a total of about €1.3 million. Gone without a trace for over a decade, the works were feared lost forever, until a member of a Ukranian militia force called the Dutch embassy in July of 2015, stating that he and his soldiers had found the 24 paintings and wished to make a deal. While this initial deal was not fruitful, an eventual operation by the Ukranian Security Service managed to retrieve 5 of the works. The museum is hopeful that the remainder of the paintings will soon be returned.
2) ICA Miami Closes Temporarily Due to Hurricane Matthew
The Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami was forced to close down on Wednesday and Thursday as a result of the onset of Hurricane Matthew. The hurricane had already ripped through Haiti and the Bahamas, generating a tragically high death toll. Weather experts warmed Floridians to be on high alert for a possible category 4 storm that would require evacuation from the area. As of this writing, there are no reports of apparent damage to the institute.
3) McDonald's Sued by the Estate of Dash Snow
McDonald’s is under fire from the estate of the late street artist Dash Snow. The New York graffiti artist and photographer, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 27, was well-known for his signature tag appearing on various hard-to-reach surfaces throughout Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Recently, a number of McDonald’s restaurants took on the decorative touch of a graffiti-covered accent wall that includes Snow’s signature tag, as well as numerous other unidentified scrawls of graffiti. The artist’s former girlfriend and estate executor Jade Berreau is claiming that McDonalds has brazenly copied Snow’s work, additionally making it seem as though the artist is affiliated with other graffiti tags which appear on the wall. According to Berreau, Snow never sold his work or made it available online because he wanted to avoid the type of corporate consumption that McDonald’s exemplifies.
4) France Increases Culture Budget to $4 Billion
It would seem that France is the place to be for artists right now. The nation has pledged to increase its annual arts and culture budget to €3.6 billion, or about $4 billion USD, in the next year. This is an increase of 5.5% percent from the 2016 budget, a significant jump in governmental support for the arts. The budget includes a specific 7% increase for museum funding. Audrey Azoulay, France’s culture minister, notes that the sudden, substantial uptake in arts and culture funding is partially in response to the recent rash of terrorist incidents that have plagued the country over the past year, including the attacks in Paris and the violence at the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.
5) Frieze 2016 Kicks off in London
Yesterday marked the first day of the 2016 Frieze Art Fair in London, England. The fair, one of the most well-known and culturally important art fairs throughout the world, is host to hundreds of different galleries, and thousands of individual artists. This year the fair includes works by well-known favorites like Anish Kapoor and Grayson Perry, as well as numerous up-and-comers. While the fair is usually known as an event where the rich can congregate to make big-ticket art purchases, gallery owners and artists alike have said that the fair is just as much about getting their artwork out there, and fostering a sense of community in the art world.