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October 12, 2015

Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression

Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Wikinews interviewed Australian painter Pricasso on his unique artwork created using his penis, and how his art relates to freedom of expression and issues of censorship. He is to be featured at the upcoming adult entertainment event Sexpo Australia in Melbourne this November 5 to November 8.

File photo of Pricasso, 2012.
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Background

Pricasso painting a portrait in Australia at Sexpo (2012)
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Pricasso is the stage name of Australian painter Tim Patch, in a nod to the artist Picasso while using the word prick. Pricasso has been painting portraits using his penis for more than ten years.

Based in Australia, Pricasso paints his artwork using his buttocks and scrotum in addition to his penis. According to 640 Toronto News, Pricasso markets himself as “The World’s Greatest Penile Artist”.

Cquote1.svg I consider my work as satire just like late night TV, something that gives light relief to a serious subject. Cquote2.svg

Pricasso

He is able to create 20 paintings in one day. Pricasso also practices other styles besides portraits, including landscape painting and nudes. Typically his portraits take him not more than 15 minutes to paint. He told Coconuts TV he chose to specialize in creating artwork in this manner because he felt it was a niche market.

His fanbase is international; Pricasso has journeyed to locations including the United States, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and China to paint portraits for people. Though he is willing to travel to display his talent, Pricasso told In Touch Weekly most of his income is Internet-based.

Wikinews interviewed Pricasso about his artwork and asked for his thoughts on topics of censorship and freedom of expression. We discussed what are considered appropriate forms of parody and satire of public figures — protected in the United States following the Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.

The interview touched upon a 2013 conflict which arose on our sister site for images and media, Wikimedia Commons, when an image of a portrait of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales painted by Pricasso was uploaded to the site. Wales called it “harassment” and a succession of deletion discussions ensued. We asked Pricasso about this as well as the different reaction from former-Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille, who called his painting of her part of a “free society” where artists “exercise their freedom in unusual ways.”

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Pricasso, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with Wikinews.

Pricasso: Thanks for doing this, great questions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long have you been painting in this particular fashion?

Pricasso: I first tried it over 10 years ago and realised it would be possible with practice to get as good with it but in a slightly more impressionistic style than I could with a brush, and I really liked the results, of course at first I had to work out the paint formula and what to paint on which was done by trial and error — and then finding somewhere to practice, which was a problem until I was invited to become a member of a Bondage club in Brisbane, my first patron. There I realised that there were so many people with totally different views on what is acceptable in society, and were always protesting over most censorship issues.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long can you paint with your penis at one time before it gets too tiring?

Pricasso: At most Sexpo’s and Adult Expos I paint for 13 hours a day in half slots so I paint 20 plus paintings a day. When I am painting I have to concentrate hard and go into a meditative state; I don’t notice much going on around me until I have finished.

Example of Pricasso applying paint before creating a piece of artwork.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Other than your penis, what other parts of your body do you use in the painting process?

Pricasso: I quickly worked out that I could speed it up by using my testicles and butt cheeks to cover large areas in no time at all, but only recently do I paint the edges using my butt-crack, I call it the credit card swipe!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did you come up with the name Pricasso?

Pricasso: That was the heading they christened me with in the Picture Magazine interview in 2006. I realised it was Gold and took out the website and trademark.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s the most positive reaction you’ve had to one of your paintings?

Pricasso: It is always satisfying to get applause when a painting is finished; at most adult shows this happened all the time; but I do like painting disabled people. I have painted several people with severe cerebral palsy and they are over the moon with the result; this gives me the most pleasure, as I do realise that they are still sexually active people and everyone should realise this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have any of your paintings been featured in a gallery somewhere?

Pricasso: I have entered the Bald Archy Exhibition in Australia every year and sold a few. Also at an exhibition of politicians in Australia, and last November I went to Miami for the Art undressed exhibition and also painted 15 minute portraits there which was fun.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider it a form of freedom of expression to create your artwork in the way you do with your penis?

Pricasso: When I first thought of the idea I was really thinking I could get invited to a few parties as the entertainment which I do regularly, but now I am getting a good style about my work and want to take it to the next level and be accepted as an innovator.

Cquote1.svg A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their freedom in unusual ways. Cquote2.svg

—Cape Town former-Mayor Helen Zille

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 2008, prior to a Sexpo event in South Africa, you uploaded a video to the Internet of yourself painting a portrait of then-Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille. Why did you decide to do this?

Pricasso: No particular reason on my behalf, it was the organisers of the Sexpo who got me to paint it mainly for publicity. But also to have a portrait on my stand, who people in Cape Town would relate to as I now know she is very popular and has a great sense of humour.

Cape Town former-Mayor Helen Zille
Image: Helen Zille, Democratic Alliance, South Africa.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille commented of your portrait painting of her: “This is a free country. A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their freedom in unusual ways. And if this is how he wants to do it, I must accept his constitutional right to do so.” — what are your thoughts on her reaction?

Pricasso: Sounds a bit formal but that is how politicians usually talk, guarded and a totally correct response, the trouble is that if they spoke from the heart it might come back to bite them one day, but I did talk to one of her aides privately and she said they were all really impressed and loved the concept, I really should have offered to paint her too but I was probably flat out all day — I always am at the South African shows.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mayor Zille further commented about the quality of your painting of her: “[Pricasso] has achieved a good likeness and I can’t imagine how he painted it without brushes or conventional equipment.” — what do you think of this assessment?

Pricasso: Most people are impressed when they see it done, skeptical at first but after the initial shock they all usually stop to watch until I finish that particular painting, usually they take about 15 minutes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png If you could speak to Mayor Zille, what would you say to her about her reaction to your painting of her?

Pricasso: I would say I was impressed with her response, mostly girls are much more impressed than guys only a minority of guys I might add, lots of them love it and me too!! But in general she gave a responsible and educated reply and was not at all offended by the experience.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 2011, one member of the Gold Coast Sculptors’ Society quit in protest due to your participation in the ‘Exotic Erotic’ show — how do you feel when people react to your artwork in this way?

Pricasso: I guess I could say; This is a free country. A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their dissaproval in various ways. And if this is how she wants to protest, I must accept her constitutional right to do so. There was that politically correct enough? Or maybe the silly old B***ch — but her reaction did get heaps of publicity for the show and they had record numbers coming through the doors so there was a silver lining. But obviously it is a bit confronting and not everyone’s cup of tea but if they could just see it before they get on their high horse they might have a different point of view.

The painting of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, the uploading of which Wales called “harassment”. 2013.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You painted a portrait of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales in 2013; a picture and a video file of the making of this painting were uploaded to Wikipedia’s sister site for images and media, Wikimedia Commons. Shortly thereafter, the files were nominated for deletion and a deletion discussion ensued — what are your thoughts on this discussion?

Pricasso: I did not think Wikipedia censored anything as on Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account his banner heading is: “Wikia guy. Free speech activist, entrepreneur.” Either this is misleading in the very least or blatantly untrue.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The deletion discussion at Wikimedia Commons resulted in keeping the photograph of your portrait of Jimmy Wales, but deleting the video of your making-of-the-portrait — do you consider a video of your portrait painting to be offensive?

Pricasso: Not in the least; it’s pure performance art.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png During the deletion discussion, Jimmy Wales commented “I encourage people to go to commons and work to explain to the community there some of the concepts behind Hostile environment sexual harrassment. I encourage everyone to seriously consider whether it is appropriate behavior to upload a clearly non-notable film of someone using his penis to paint a picture of a Wikipedia volunteer. It is harassment, it is trolling, and I am deeply disappointed to have to point this out to some people.” What do you think of his response to your artwork? Do you feel your paintings constitute harassment?

Pricasso: Harassment is when one continually annoys someone, over and over again; I only painted the one painting of him and it to my mind was not offensive, I consider my work as satire just like late night TV, something that gives light relief to a serious subject. There are many examples of political cartoon images on Wikipedia, so why are they still up there or is it just the things Jimmy Wales doesn’t like get taken down? By the way anyone who has not seen the offending Video can view it on Vimeo under Pricasso: http://vimeo.com/user10315938/review/68837137/893b31ca54

I paint about 1000 portraits a year and get paid by the sitters or a close friend of them to do so. I had a request to paint a portrait, to do [this] portrait of Jimmy Wales with a video of me painting, by Russavia (who is an editor at Wikipedia), something I do all the time and I have great feedback as to how funny the videos are; I had no idea who Jimmy Wales was at the time of the request, but painted him only once so it can’t be called Harassment. Is he just using his position of power to cut and censor … It took me a lot of effort and time to put this together so I was pretty upset. And would really like it to be republished next to the portrait as originally it was before Mr Wales had it removed.

[Editor’s note: Accusations of harassment focused on the uploader, rather than the artist; the successive heated discussions, over about six months, that ultimately led to the video’s deletion from Commons may be read here. Jimmy Wales expressed his position elsewhere and did not directly participate in the discussions themselves.]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How do you compare the reactions by Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille who said your portrait painting of her was a product of a “free society” and a reflection of how people “exercise their freedom” with the comment by Jimmy Wales calling the publication of your artwork “harassment” ? Which of these individuals do you feel is correct, Mayor Zille or Wales, and why?

Pricasso: I think Helen got it. They in South Africa are struggling with change from being suppressed to one of freedom as she said “a free society”. Jimmy Wales on the other hand although promoting himself as The Free Speech Guy is censoring things he does not agree with and calling it Harassment, not a good look Jimmy!!

I did put the video of Helen Zille being painted on YouTube. It was there for a few months but they too delete my work quite regularly so it’s probably long gone.

She is an experienced politician and would weigh up the fors and against before she acted, obviously the fors had it.

Mr. Wales on the other hand has probably not seen a lot of my work; if he had he would know I do it for fun and not really to be taken too seriously, it’s a comedy performance, but he could not see the unique talent of someone who has cornered the world market of penis portraits painting with no imitators for the past 10 years, so before too many people could have a small chuckle at his expense he had it deleted, I’m sure there would be many others who would like to remove things on Wikipedia but don’t have the muscle to do so.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you experienced censorship or attempts by others to limit your freedom of expression? How so, and what was your reaction?

Pricasso: As I said before YouTube is always deleting my videos when someone complains, sometimes even when there is no genitals visible. Once one was taken down because the guy I was painting had the word (fuck) on his tee shirt; I mean how many films have this word in the dialogue. Also in Macau at the adult show, the people who make the rules make me perform inside an enclosed area, and people are wary of coming in through the door so is a bit slow there; and the guys that run the show are so polite and passionate trying to change China slowly, making it more open, that I keep on returning year after year.

Signed painting of a French Bulldog, by Pricasso. 2013.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider some of your art pieces to be forms of parody or satire of famous people?

Pricasso: Oh yes I love creating something topical and painting a spoof on famous people, and painting with a penis really lends itself to this form of art, but I just painted a normal portrait of Jimmy Wales, as I said before I had no idea who he was before I googled him. And found this heading [on] his Twitter account (seems to me he has a few double standards) “Jimmy Wales
 Verified account
‪ @jimmy_wales You know, the ‪@Wikipedia and ‪@Wikia guy. Free speech activist, entrepreneur.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you familiar with the U.S. Supreme Court case, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell ? How do you feel after reading about the unanimous decision protecting parody as a form of freedom of speech in that case?

Pricasso: Thanks for sharing that with me, I had no idea about this case and it’s good to know that freedom of speech is alive and well in America. Actually I was a bit taken aback by the parody and slightly offended that I have been put in the same category, my painting is pure performance art and I don’t go out of my way to offend. And I am totally against censorship. It’s a shame the same is not true about Wikipedia and Mr. Wales.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Pricasso, thanks again for doing this interview with Wikinews, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Pricasso: Not at the moment. I’m exhausted! Thanks.



Related news

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Pricasso
  • Commons-logo.svg Pricasso
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Pricasso
  • Wiktionary-logo.svg Pricasso

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April 2, 2013

Sydney plans loss of rainbow

Sydney plans loss of rainbow – Wikinews, the free news source

Sydney plans loss of rainbow

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Correction — April 8, 2013
 
The cost of painting the crosswalk was misstated here as 11,000 AUD; the cost was reportedly about 80,000 AUD, with funds allocated of 110,000 AUD including about 30,000 AUD for removal if necessary. We apologize for the misstatement.
 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The rainbow colored sidewalk
Image: Bidgee.

Yesterday, the deadline expired for the rainbow colored sidewalk located at Rainbow Oxford St, Taylor Square in Sydney, Australia to remain intact.

The pedestrian crossing had been painted with the colors of the rainbow to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT) pride march in Sydney during this year’s Mardi Gras celebrations, at a cost of AU$11,000 and, according to a spokesman for the City of Sydney, it had a very positive impact for local tourism and within the community.

The initial idea plan was to conduct a month long pilot and, if positive, keep the crossing painted in rainbow colors for twelve month period. However, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) warned of the potential danger the painted the road could pose for drivers and demanded the road be painted over. Despite an online petition gathered almost 15,000 signatures to save the rainbow, the Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Premier Barry O’Farrell decided not to meet the requests from the City of Sydney for the road to remain with the colors of rainbow.

A spokeswoman for Gay’s office cited road safety hazard and unsafe behavior as the reason for removal, including people who sat in the road to take pictures. Alex Greenwich, the local representative from Sydney in the New South Wales state government, had organised the petition earlier and said Gay exaggerated the potential safety hazards, and said that people took pictures during the parade of Mardi Gras, when there was no traffic.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore also disputed Mr Gay’s claims, citing no safety hazards, “The audit also shows that generally the risk to the public of having the rainbow crossing is low. This is bureaucracy gone wild — the Minister wants to remove the crossing because he doesn’t like some pictures that people have been taking. Those pictures are a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of thousands of other pictures of the crossing that have … promoted Oxford St as one of the best LGBT tourism destinations in the world.” The walk is scheduled to be painted over this week and will cost about AU$35,000.



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May 5, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: May 5, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: May 5, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: May 5, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Help Wikinews! Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

Dozens dead in the wake of Nigerian market attack

A cattle market in the Nigerian city of Potiskum was attacked by gunmen Wednesday evening, according to an unnamed government official. The official said the attack occurred after would-be robber was subdued by market traders who then set him on fire.

Allies of the burned man retaliated by throwing grenades and shooting randomly into the crowd, the official said. The exact death toll is uncertain but is reported by various groups as being between 30 and 60. The anonymous official — who said he was not authorized to speak with journalists — said the gunmen used a strategy that mirrored those of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Sources


Munch’s The Scream sales for US$120 million in auction; sets record

The Scream artist Edvard Munch in 1912

One of the most recognized paintings in the world, The Scream, sold for US$120 million at auction at Sotheby’s in New York City on Wednesday, making it the most expensive piece of art in the world.

The iconic painting was projected by experts to sell at auction for US$80 million, but an unknown buyer purchased the painting at US$119,922,500. Before the auction, Picasso‘s Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust was the most expensive artwork sold after it went for US$106.5 million two years ago at auction.

Sources


Saturn V moon rocket damaged by bullets

The building housing the rocket

The Saturn V on display at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center was damaged by gunfire on Thursday. Nobody was injured. The shooter was suspected to be driving on Interstate 565.

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April 23, 2012

Doctor diagnoses Mexican artist Frida Kahlo\’s infertility

Doctor diagnoses Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s infertility

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Mexico
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File:Frida Kahlo by Artist René Romero Schuler.jpg

Frida Kahlo is an oil painting on canvas by Artist René Romero Schuler.
Image: Tom Dupuis.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

According to a new diagnosis by a surgical pathologist, Frida Kahlo most likely suffered uterine damage during a streetcar accident as a teenager and this led to a rare condition known as Asherman’s syndrome, and that would explain the Mexican artist’s infertility.

Dr. Fernando Antelo, from the Harbor–UCLA Medical Center, said, “Her survival defied the grim prognostication by her physicians; however, complications from this physical trauma would emerge in her adulthood.” He presented his diagnosis yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Association of Anatomists in San Diego.

Asherman’s syndrome is normally caused by a trauma to the uterus that results in internal scar tissue. For example, it can occur after multiple procedures to clear the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion, which is known as a “D & C” procedure. Antelo said Kahlo tried to have children many times and her miscarriages, as well as three therapeutic abortions, could have further aggravated the scarring.

At present the condition could be diagnosed and treated after advancements in medical imaging and hysteroscopy, but in Kahlo’s time, Dr. Antelo said, the technology had not advanced far enough to diagnose and treat her. Asherman’s syndrome has been known since 1894 when it was first reported. Kahlo died at age 47 in 1954.

“She kept attempting to have children with a uterus that wasn’t in any condition to do that,” Antelo said.

Antelo, who has been working on connections between art and medicine, says that Kahlo brought her infertility to the canvas and this can be seen in her many paintings of reproductive organs or in her depiction of her own bleeding body in the 1932 painting Henry Ford Hospital. In that image, Kahlo is shown lying on a hospital bed with multiple umbilical cords extending from her body and each one holds an object or body part, except one holding a baby.



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March 26, 2012

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art buys Edward Hopper valued at over $25 million

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art buys Edward Hopper valued at over $25 million

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Monday, March 26, 2012

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has purchased the painting Intermission, by American artist Edward Hopper. The piece, created in 1963, is one of the last paintings created by Hopper.

SFMOMA
Image: WolfmanSF.

Hopper’s realist style, which visually examined American urban and rural life in the first half of the 20th century, made him one of the most influential and important American artists of the modern era. The painting, which was sold by a private collector, is believed to be valued at over $25 million.

Intermission shows a woman sitting alone in the front row of a theater. The theater is empty, and is described, by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker as expressing emotion and social isolation, a standard theme in Hopper’s works. The inspiration for the painting came to Hopper while he was watching a film.

Hopper’s wife, Josephine, had scheduled Hopper to create the painting in a theater, however Hopper would complete the painting at his studio in New York City. Original sketches of Intermission show a second person sitting in the third row — a figure that never made it into the final painting. Baker calls Intermission a “prime example of Hopper’s austere realist vision”.

Cquote1.svg [This is] a necessary practice in an art market where prices for historically important art continue to rise steeply. Cquote2.svg

—Kenneth Baker

SFMOMA will not disclose how much they paid for Intermission. When the painting Hotel Window, which is of similar size and from the same period, sold at auction in 2006, it sold for $26.9 million. It is believed that “Inspiration” is worth just as much, if not more. Intermission was purchased with the help of donor funds, and acquired through the San Francisco-based Fraenkel Gallery, which sold if on behalf of a private collector.

In exchange for the acquisition of Intermission, SFMOMA is selling another Hopper painting: Bridal Path, from 1939. A lesser known work of Hopper’s, Bridal Path shows a horseback riding path in Central Park. By selling Bridal Path, SFMOMA is able to help fund the acquisition of the more well known Intermission. This practice is slowly gaining popularity within a museum and art market that previously disapproved of the sale of lesser known works for more popular acquisitions. Baker acknowledges the past practices, but believes that this is “a necessary practice in an art market where prices for historically important art continue to rise steeply.”

Intermission goes on display for the public on Friday, at SFMOMA.



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March 25, 2012

Two San Diego art museums receive $40 million art collection

Two San Diego art museums receive $40 million art collection

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Image: Richard O. Barry.
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Museum of Art
Image: ConspiracyofHappiness (Flickr).

Two museums in San Diego, California have been bequested an art collection worth more than $40 million. The art collection was donated by Dr. Vance E. Kondon and Elisabeth Giesberger to both the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art.

Kondon, a former board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, died in 1997 and Giesberger died in 2011. Kondon was a notable art collector in San Diego, and collected for over 30 years. Roxana Velásquez, SDMA executive director, described their bequeathed collection’s “rarity” and said the pieces would add “depth” to the two existing museum collections.

The collection will be separated between the two museums due to the art movements represented within it. The Museum of Contemporary Art will receive 30 contemporary works by artists such as Franz Kline, Christo, and Craig Kauffman. The Museum of Art was bequeathed 48 German Expressionist paintings, drawings and prints. This collection includes artworks by Otto Dix, Gustav Klimt, and Egon Schiele.



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February 17, 2012

Armed robbers steal valuable statuettes from Olympia museum, Greece

Armed robbers steal valuable statuettes from Olympia museum, Greece

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Friday, February 17, 2012

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Culture minister Pavlos Geroulanos, pictured from file, has resigned over the robbery

Armed robbers stole around 60 valuable statuettes from a museum in Olympia, Greece this morning. A state television channel reported that the Greek culture minister Pavlos Geroulanos tendered his resignation upon hearing of the robbery.

“We must wait and see what the local archaeology supervisor will say, but the items were of incalculable value,” local mayor Thymios Kotzias said. The value of the articles hasn’t been calculated yet.

The masked robbers initially demanded a female employee to hand over the articles. When she refused, they tied her up and snatched the articles through the glass planes themselves.

This is the second major robbery in the country recently. Paintings by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and others were stolen from Athens National Museum in January. Olympia is the place where the first Olympic Games were held.



Related news

  • “Valuable paintings stolen from Greek gallery” — Wikinews, January 12, 2012

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January 12, 2012

Valuable paintings stolen from Greek gallery

Valuable paintings stolen from Greek gallery

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Culture and entertainment
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Art thieves in Greece broke into the Athens National Gallery on Monday and stole three valuable works of art.

Image of stolen painting “Woman’s Head” by Picasso
Image: codeproject.com.

Among them was a painting by famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, dated 1939, called Woman’s Head which was a gift to the Greek people for their resistance to the Nazis during World War 2. The other two works were Mill by Piet Mondrian and a sketch of St. Diego de Alcala by Guglielmo Caccia. A fourth painting, Landscape, also by Piet Mondrian was dropped by the thieves when pursued by security. All three works stolen were stripped from their frames.

The police stated multiple alarms during the evening of the heist in other parts of the building had distracted the gallery guard. Investigating yet another alarm, he saw the shadow of a fleeing individual. Citizen’s Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis apologized for the loss, citing that the security at the gallery was “non-existent”.

The value of the works stolen was not yet determined by gallery officials. The artwork in question was on display at the gallery as part of an exhibition called “Unknown Treasures”, including works of Albrecht Durer and Rembrandt.



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July 23, 2011

British painter Lucian Freud dies aged 88

British painter Lucian Freud dies aged 88

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lucian Freud
Image: procsilas.

Lucian Freud, the painter and grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, died Wednesday at his London home following a short illness. He was 88 years old.

Freud, the elder brother of the late comedic writer and broadcaster Clement Freud, was born in Berlin in 1922 and moved with his family to Britain in 1933 to escape the Nazis. He became a British citizen in 1939. He studied at the Central School of Art, then at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing with Cedric Morris. He also attended Goldsmiths, University of London. After finishing art school, he spent some time in the merchant navy. In 1944, he started exhibiting with a solo showcase at the Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery.

Cquote1.svg I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be. Cquote2.svg

In the 1950s, his style changed to exclusively paint portraits and nudes. The process of painting for models was intense: one nude painting took 16 months to complete and Freud demanded her turn up almost every day to pose. His work was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1989, and he was a member of the Order of Merit. Most controversially, he painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which was described by The Sun newspaper as a “travesty”, and prompted Robin Simon, the editor of the British Art Journal to say that “It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke”. He also famously painted the glamour model Kate Moss nude, and was once named one of Britain’s best dressed men in the magazine GQ.

His work has sold for large amounts: Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold in 2008 at Christie’s in New York for $33.6 million dollars. In addition, he has had solo shows at some of the most prominent art galleries and museums in the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate in London, said of Freud: “The vitality of his nudes, the intensity of the still life paintings and the presence of his portraits of family and friends guarantee Lucian Freud a unique place in the pantheon of late twentieth century art. His early paintings redefined British art and his later works stand comparison with the great figurative painters of any period.”

Freud has at least thirteen children from a series of marriages and affairs: after an affair wth the Bloomsbury Group member Lorna Garman, Freud married her niece Kitty in 1948 and had two children (Annie and Annabel) before ending the marriage four years later. He had an affair with Lady Caroline Blackwood which turned into a marriage in 1953, although that was dissolved in 1957. He also had two children with Bernadine Coverly (Bella Freud, the fashion designer, and the writer Esther Freud), five children with Suzy Boyt, and four children with Katherine Margaret McAdam (Paul Freud, an artist, Lucy Freud, David Freud and Jane McAdam Freud, also an artist).



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December 18, 2010

Don Van Vliet, best known as \’Captain Beefheart\’, dies aged 69

Don Van Vliet, best known as ‘Captain Beefheart’, dies aged 69

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

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Beefheart in 1974.
Image: “Jean-Luc”.

US avant-garde musician and painter Don Van Vliet — better known by the stage name Captain Beefheart — died Friday aged 69. New York’s Michael Werner Gallery confirmed the cause of death as complications with multiple sclerosis, a condition Van Vliet suffered from for many years.

Born in Glendale, California on January 15, 1941, the highly experimental musician created several unique and influential albums from 1967 through to 1982, backed by a frequently changing group of musicians known as The Magic Band. His most famous album, Trout Mask Replica (1969) melded free jazz, blues-rock, and avant-garde styles to create a critically acclaimed (albeit commercially unsuccessful) work. He retired from music in 1982 to focus on painting.

Whilst none of the albums released by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, including 1967 debut album Safe as Milk, were commercially successful, his work is regularly cited as highly influential. Groups such as The Sex Pistols, Jethro Tull, Hawkwind, and Roxy Music all mention Beefheart as influencing their music.

A childhood friend of Frank Zappa, Beefheart was christened Don Glen Viet, later changing this; and, adopting the stage name of Captain Beefheart at Zappa’s suggestion. Of the dozen albums produced under various lineups of the Magic Band, Trout Mask Replica is placed at number 58 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Despite no formal training, it was under his own name and as a painter, that Van Vliet experienced his greatest commercial success. His first exhibition was in Liverpool, in 1972. In the wake of this he was advised that as a painter he would be unlikely to be taken seriously unless he abandoned his musical career.

He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Jan Van Vliet.

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