Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Madoff-tainted Merkin to sell $300M in art

After funneling his clients’ billions into Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Ezra Merkin will sell 15 Rothkos, Giacomettis and other works of art appraised at $310 million.

By Aaron Elstein

The Bernie Madoff scandal cost financier J. Ezra Merkin his reputation and his money-management business. Now, Mr. Merkin, one of the most important sources of funds in Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, is losing the heart of his art collection.

Mr. Merkin and his wife, Lauren, have agreed to sell 15 works of art, according to documents filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court. The works include paintings by Mark Rothko and sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, a source said, and decorated the Merkins’ palatial apartment at 740 Park Ave.

The art has been appraised at $310 million by Christie’s auction house and is expected to yield $191 million after taxes and broker fees, according to a letter from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office filed in court. The sale, which is subject to court approval, should be completed by July 15, and proceeds will be used to help Mr. Merkin’s clients recover Madoff-related losses.

It isn’t clear which exact works are to be sold, but Mr. Merkin’s collection includes two 9-by-15-foot studies for murals that Mr. Rothko executed for midtown’s Four Seasons restaurant and the Rothko Chapel in Houston, according to Bloomberg News, plus a smaller study for a Harvard University mural. The actual Four Seasons mural paintings are held in the National Gallery in Washington.

Mr. Merkin’s decision to sell his art comes after he was sued in April by Mr. Cuomo’s office for allegedly deceiving clients over how he invested their money. Mr. Merkin was, according to the attorney general’s office, a “glorified mailbox” who funneled $2.4 billion to Mr. Madoff without the knowledge or consent of his customers while pocketing $470 million in fees for himself. Several former clients have sued, including New York University, New York Law School and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Merkin’s lawyer, Andrew Levander, said: “As Mr. Merkin continues to defend against the actions brought against him by the New York attorney general and others, he and his wife have decided to sell the core of their art collection in a private sale. The Merkins believe the lawsuits are without merit and have agreed, without prejudice to their rights, to place the net proceeds of the sale in escrow while the litigation continues.”

Last month, Mr. Merkin agreed to step aside from running his investment business, which once served some of the city’s most prominent nonprofits and families.

“We believe it is only fair that Mr. Merkin liquidate his valuable art collection, which he purchased with the fees he earned from his investors,” Mr. Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “The $191 million that will be preserved in this way will not by itself make investors whole, but this is an important step in the right direction for investors.”

Source: Crain's New York

Picasso: The Light

Photographed by TIME Magazine's Gjon Mili in 1949, Picasso give his own interpretation of painting and drawing with light. Picasso proves he is the best that ever did it.


The Don Gallery
Via Cola Montano 15
Milan, Italy
July 9-August 25, 2009

Artist Profile with WK Interact on Walrus TV

The Art of a Sartorialist: Dunhill by Kim Jones 2010 Spring/Summer Preview

Dunhill continues their classic style with sleek shirts, slim cut cardigans, carefully tailored trousers and timeless outerwear. Coming soon to a major department store near you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

WHERE ARE THE MEN'S GARMENTS: Ann Demeulemeester 2009 Fall/Winter Footwear

Get into the quality of the leather and craftsmanship of each and every item. Obviously, they were made with the "gentleman" in mind. These items are available now at Ann Demeulemeester's Hong Kong boutique.

Ann Demeulemeester Hong Kong
Ground Floor, 10 On Lan Street,
Central, Hong Kong
p: 2526 8250

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fifty 24SF "Young Mind, Old Soul" New works from Word to Mother @ FIFTY24SF Gallery

“Young Mind, Old Soul” features new paintings on display at FIFTY24SF Gallery from July 2 - 28, 2009.

Join us to celebrate Word To Mother's first U.S solo exhibition

July 2nd, 7-9:30

248 Fillmore St,

San Francisco, Ca, 94103

If you would like more information regarding this show please visit: FIFTY24SF.com

To be added to the private preview list, please email: Lynzy@upperplayground.com.

via UP

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Patrick Farrell-2009 Pulitzer Prize Winner-Breaking News Photography

Patrick Farrell, 49, has been a staff photographer for The Miami Herald since 1987. His assignments have taken him to Turkey, Haiti, Cuba and throughout Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

He was part of the Miami Herald staff that won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the coverage of Hurricane Andrew’s devastation in South Florida.

He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of arts degree in television and film production from the University of Miami. A native of Miami, he grew up in a family of 12 children and discovered photography at age 13, when he destroyed a bathroom in his parents’ home by turning it into a darkroom. (His five sisters still haven’t quite forgiven him.)

Farrell started his career working for several small community papers in Florida. He has twice been named the National Press Photographers Association’s Region 6 Newspaper Photographer of the Year (in 1992 and 1993). He also was named Southern Photographer of the Year in 1989 and again in 1993 at the Southern Short Course in Photography, the country’s longest-running photojournalism seminar.

In 2008, the Herald repeatedly sent Farrell to Haiti, which bore the brunt of the year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season. He was there the night Hurricane Ike - the fourth storm to hit Haiti in a month - reflooded the overwhelmed country, swallowing homes and lives. In all, more than 800 Haitians died and more than 1 million were left homeless by the unrelenting series of storms.

To view more images, click HERE.

via Pulitzer

The Wonderful World of Yokoo

Yokoo Scarves And Accessories

Vice interview here, http://tinyurl.com/crvgum
Email: yokooinfo@ mac.com

For more on this designer, please read the Etsy interview to find out her dreams, aspirations and desire to smash into your life.

The Art of Swizz Beats

Besides being an artist, producer, entrepreneur and the United Nation's Music Ambassador for World Peace, Swizz Beats is also an avid art collector as well as budding artist. Who would have known? Well its very obvious, I suppose, being a partner in Kidrobot and an Andy Warhol enthusiast that he would eventually pick up a brush and create his magic. I anxiously await his first solo show (whenever that will be) and look forward to purchasing a major piece from his collection. I will start saving my coins now.


Brooklyn designer Timothy Liles has created these amazing colorful rings made entirely of washable crayon. Each package contacts 8 basic colors and can be purchased by clicking HERE. Make sure your little one is the BEST IN CLASS with these cool wearable pieces of art!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Art fraud lawsuit against Louis Vuitton over Murakami prints to go forward [updated]

Clint Arthur will get his day in court after all, in a class action claim that Louis Vuitton defrauded him and hundreds of others by repurposing leftover handbag material and selling it as fine art prints by pop artist Takashi Murakami.
U.S. District Court Judge A. Howard Matz on Wednesday denied Louis Vuitton’s motion to have Arthur’s suit dismissed, and set a pretrial conference for Aug. 24. The decision contradicted one reached in April by William Highberger, a judge in Los Angeles Superior Court, who threw out a similar but separate suit that Arthur had brought against L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Arthur’s attorneys have estimated that the luxury goods purveyor took in as much as $4 million selling prints at a special boutique it had set up at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary building, in the middle of a 2007-08 exhibition of Murakami’s work. With treble damages provided by law, millions more could be at stake.

“I’m thrilled,” Arthur, a Los Angeles art collector and manufacturer of gourmet butter, said Friday when reached at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where he was viewing interior furnishings by Frank Lloyd Wright. “I always knew that we would prevail in this, and I’m very gratified that the judge sees it our way.”

Louis Vuitton issued a statement saying it is "surprised and disappointed" by the ruling. "We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this baseless litigation."

The Louis Vuitton case concerns two prints Arthur bought for $6,000 each at the special boutique. The separate case against MOCA involved three Murakami prints that he bought for $2,655 from the regular museum shop on Grand Avenue.MurakamiTote

In both cases, Arthur contended that the sellers violated California’s Fine Prints Act, which requires dealers in limited-edition art reproductions to certify their authenticity and provide information about how many prints exist, and how they were created.

In the case against MOCA, Arthur alleged that he and untold numbers of others who have bought prints from the museum over the years had not received certificates required by law, and were therefore entitled not only to proper certificates, but to treble damages that the Fine Prints Act provides for “willful” violations. But Highberger found that Arthur lost his standing to sue when he refused to accept MOCA’s offer of a refund. “To allow a purchaser to both keep his allegedly defective purchase and to get his money back ... rewards opportunistic litigation (of which this case is a prime example),” the judge wrote in his ruling.

But Matz, considering the same issue, decided the opposite was true: The Fine Prints Act, Matz wrote, “focuses not on what a purchaser must do,” but on whether the art dealer’s conduct prior to a refund offer had violated the act’s provisions.

In addition to trying to get the case thrown out because Arthur had not returned his prints for an offered refund plus interest, Louis Vuitton’s attorneys had argued that there were no grounds for a fraud claim, because he should have known that he was getting handbags remade into expensive art prints. Accessories with similar patterns were on display in the same boutique, they noted in court pleadings, and Arthur was aware that Murakami is famed for his blurring of the lines between art and commercial products.

Matz ruled that the nature of the prints and Louis Vuitton’s honesty or deceitfulness in characterizing them as limited-edition artworks are issues of fact to be determined in a trial.

MurakamiBoutique One of Arthur’s attorneys, Daniel Engel, said it’s uncertain whether he’ll try to question Murakami in a pretrial deposition; he said he is eager to depose Paul Schimmel, MOCA’s chief curator, “because I would think the curator would know what happened.” In a news clipping already entered in the case file, Schimmel told an interviewer from the journal ArtInfo that he was “surprised” Murakami created limited edition art prints sold at the boutique out of fabrics for Louis Vuitton products he had designed. Allowing a retailer to set up shop inside an art exhibition was a rare, if not unprecedented move that MOCA intended to underscore how Murakami straddles lines between art and commerce. Now a jury may be asked to decide whether Murakami’s creative process for the prints was, in legal terms, a fraud. MOCA may not be out of the woods entirely, Engel said: If it becomes clear that the museum was aware a fraud was being perpetrated by a business operation it invited on the premises, and did nothing to stop it, it could be drawn into the case and face legal liability.

Arthur said in April that he planned to appeal the dismissal of his Superior Court case against MOCA, but Engel said that last week he filed a notice that Arthur would not appeal. Arthur achieved two of his main objectives in that suit, the attorney said — getting a proper certificate for the prints, and prodding MOCA’s store to comply with the Fine Prints Act.

Arthur said the Murakami prints involved in both cases still hang on his walls; he would rather keep the prints from MOCA than take the museum’s refund offer.

“I love the art of Takashi Murakami,” he said, adding that his appreciation hasn’t dimmed because of what he considers wrongdoing in the way the Louis Vuitton prints were created, advertised and sold. “I love the images. What I don’t like is the deceit behind the work.”

-- Mike Boehm

via L.A. Times

Monday, June 22, 2009

WK Interact: Motion Portrait Exhibition at Jonathan Levine Gallery

WK Interact
Motion Portrait
Solo Exhibition
Jun 27 thru Jul 25, 2009
Opening Reception - Saturday, June 27th 7-9pm

SURU | Celeritas Exhibition Los Angeles

SURU will be holding their latest exhibition, entitled Celeritas, on July 12th, 2009 at their gallery/retail space in Los Angeles. The show will feature a star-studden lineup of artists exhibiting works inspired by motorcycle racing culture. Participants include: Barry McGee, Joe Hahn, Mike Shinoda, Mark Dean Veca, Audrey Kawasaki, Stash, Futura, James Jean, Jim Lee, Alex Pardee, Jeff McMillan, Troy Lee, Jesse James, Usugrow, Nathan Cabrera, Dr. Romanelli and photographer Estevan Oriol.

7662 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046



Celebrating Stonewall’s 40th Anniversary and the evolution of the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement

Selections from the most comprehensive photography collection of Gay Pride, including work from A View From My Window (LGBT Community Center, 2007) and selections from her New York Public Library collection.

June 22-28

Artist’s Reception Thurs., June 25 6-8pm

Chair and the Maiden Gallery
19 Christopher St. (just east of the Stonewall Inn)
212 255-0562


via CMG

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Philip Smiley transformed the window of Saville Row’s finest boutique, The b Store, into an art installation inspired by his surreal rural childhood in Virginia. Smiley is best known as an illustrator, working on graphics and imagery for publications including Dazed (naturally), Spin and Blackbook as well as a host of fashion labels from Burberry and Stella McCartney to Comme des Garcons. For more, click HERE.


images via DD