5 October 2007 - Werkstatte Gallery: The Bowery - Final Frontier in Manhattan!

   If any of you are in the neighborhood, please stop by the new Werkstatte Gallery, 55 Jones St, New York and see Robert Rahway Zakanitch's exhibition. The opening was outstandinng and the owners, Karen Larkin and Alexis Schimberg, did an incredible job. What a great space!

   The Bowery is the final frontier for artists! Even though the neighborhood will never be the same without CBGBs, it still has the Bowery Poetry Club, KGB Bar, and the New Gallery is officially opening there in December. Galleries are flocking to the place (unfortunately, the wealthy will follow with their high end condos and annoying yelping rat-dogs! So enjoy the scene while it lasts. PS- Donald the Chump Trump can stick his new SoHo time share units up his filthy rich Culo! They belong in Atlantic City fool! Who cuts your hair:-(

Boring Chelsea is dead! Long live the Bowery!


4 October 2007 - Congratulations Marc! Champagne corks are flying in London as well as Scotland this week!!!

Arrests after da Vinci work found

   A police raid in Glasgow has recovered a Leonardo da Vinci painting stolen
more than four years ago. Three men from Lancashire and one from Glasgow were arrested as officers found the Madonna with the Yarnwinder, taken from the Duke of Buccleuch's estate.

   Art experts confirmed the painting was the one stolen in August 2003.

   The artwork was taken from Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway. Four anti-crime agencies were involved in the Glasgow raid.

   Police said that, acting on intelligence, they intercepted a meeting between five people in the centre of Glasgow at about 1100 BST.

   The painting was recovered at the scene.

"For four years police staff have worked tirelessly on the theft and with help from the public we have been able to track down and locate the painting"   - Det Ch Insp Mickey Dalgleish

   Four men have been arrested and will appear in court on Friday.

   Police will not confirm further details but it is understood a deal for the sale of the painting may have been under negotiation.

   The work was taken to a vault for formal identification.

   The operation was led by Dumfries and Galloway Police and involved the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and Strathclyde Police.

Most wanted

   "We are extremely pleased to recover the Madonna with the Yarnwinder painting," said lead investigation officer Det Ch Insp Mickey Dalgleish.

   "The recovery of this artwork is down to extensive police enquiries and the combined efforts of several Scottish police forces, the SCDEA and SOCA.

   "For four years police staff have worked tirelessly on the theft and with help from the public we have been able to track down and locate the painting."

   The theft sparked a worldwide search, with the FBI putting the painting on its list of 10 most wanted pieces of stolen artwork.

   The painting had been in the Buccleuch family for almost 200 years and had been admired by thousands of visitors to the castle every year.

   The discovery of the artwork comes just a month after the death of the Duke of Buccleuch.

   He died at the beginning of September at the age of 83.


3 October 2007 - Robert Rahway Zakanitch

   I leave Manhattan on the L and get off the first stop in Brooklyn. This part of Brooklyn is probably the greatest place to live in the U.S. This neighborhood was the first destination of Manhattan’s artists after gentrification forced them off the island. This is where Robert Rahway Zakanitch moved to after he left lower Manhattan. Robert’s studio is alive with color, beauty, and energy. The walls and floors are in full bloom with art works in progress.

C.V.Sabba: Tell us about your childhood.

Robert Rahway Zakanitch
: I grew up on Elizabeth Ave in Rahway. My art was greatly influenced by my childhood and the décor I observed in my family’s homes. I am very nostalgic about Rahway. I always think about walking to school and passing the old Wheatena building. It always smelled so good. I always thought about how great it would be to have a large studio in that building and how many artist spaces it could provide.
   I studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts (NSFIA). The teachers were wonderful. I don’t know if the students realized how wonderful the teachers were at the time, but they certainly realized it later in their artistic careers. They had a German teacher from the Bauhaus named Hans Beckman. Hans taught a class called “creative thinking.” He was a good friend of Kandinsky’s. Hans took charge of me.
   Around 1955, Hans put on an exhibition of Kandinsky’s works at the NSFIA’s exhibition space. Imagine a small school exhibition space exhibiting the works of Kandinsky! Hans left me alone in the exhibition and closed the door. After 45 minutes he came back and asked me what I thought. I didn’t know what to say, it was all new to me. How do you talk about abstraction when you don’t know what it is you’re looking at. I’m now embarrassed that I didn’t know what to say back then. He was trying to open my mind. Hans tried to make people think. I absolutely love Kandinsky now. My favorite Kandinsky paintings are those done around 1913. With Hans’ guidance I was beginning to think there was something else in art besides representation. I still think of abstraction as my foundation.
   Cubism was the beginning of abstraction and brought intellectualism into painting. Art reaches its peak of intellectualism in the 1960s with Formalism and Conceptualism.

CVS: The conceptualists declared that painting was dead.

RRZ: For the conceptualists, it was not important who painted the best, but who thought better. They asked the question: what is more pure then they idea itself. I was a Formalist. In Formalism a painting can only refer to itself, must be abstract, actually paint, and you must know it is on canvas. It is only about the paint and the purity of the material. Images and decorative elements could never be included. The art critic Clement Greenberg was extolling all of this. He was the expounder of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline.

CVS: I love hearing first hand accounts of Greenberg relationships. Did you like him?

RRZ: I respected him. We respected each other very much. I first met him in 1970 at the home of a writer. Clem came to my exhibitions in 1970 and 1971 at the Reese Palley Gallery.

CVS: I have been told if you didn’t adhere to his thought and ideologies on art he would ruin you.

RRZ: In 1975, I was one of the founders of the Pattern and Decorative movement. I saw it as the end of modern art as I knew it and the beginning of modern art as they would know it. I included all of the sentimental visuals of my childhood environment into my painting, such as wall paper patterns, and linoleum tiles. In past centuries, only the wealthy could afford to embellish their homes, pay artists to paint décor onto their walls and adorn their furniture. In the 20th century even the hard- working class people could have decorative patterns in their homes. Wealthy people owned oriental rugs and we had patterned linoleum tiles. In my grandparents house ornamentation was everywhere. They had embroidered table cloths and arm rests. They used stencils to paint flower patterns on their walls, which gave me an affinity for stencils. My grandparents refused to live in bleak, empty rooms and decorated everything.

   I had a book of Armstrong linoleum tile, much like the floors in my grandmother’s home. There were identical floral designs in different colors: on one page they were in red, the next yellow, the next orange, and so on. I began to use this in my work
We were throwing it all in the faces of the Formalists and Greenberg. Everything I was doing was opposed to his thinking. I showed my new work for about five years and kept seeing Clem’s name in the guest books. In 1981, I finally invited him to my art studio at 18 Warren St. in lower Manhattan, to which he dryly replied : “I think its about time.”

   Clem showed up with a young, pretty assistant. He got drunk, I did not. By that time I had quit drinking. Alcohol use is a serious job hazard for artists. We had a serious shouting discussion. I declared: “It was all of your ideas that I had to destroy before I could paint again!” He retorted: “They weren’t my ideas they were the artists’ ideas. I only wrote them down.” I didn’t buy it because he was about control.

   Formalism was all about abstraction and material. I owe a lot to it. I still show the errors and materials in my work. It is wonderful to see all the mistakes in art not covered up. You allow the viewer to get into the head of an artist. I let you into the process; I let you into the work. When you stand in front of a painting done by a painter who creates a well finished piece of art, such as Dali’, it elates you, but it doesn’t let you in. You get stopped right at the surface.

CVS: Why did you legally change your name to Rahway?

RRZ: First of all, I got tired of the name Zakanitch. No one knew how to spell or pronounce it. More importantly, my work, as I previously stated, is greatly influenced by my matriarchal background as a child in Rahway. These influences had a big impact on my Big Bungalo Suite series, which consisted of five 11 by 30 foot paintings. These works inspired me to become Rahway, so I hired a lawyer and legally changed my name to Robert Rahway. That caused all kinds of problems. I had already exhibited in galleries for over twenty years. I started to call dealers who handled my work and they all stated “that name change is not going to happen. Everyone already knows you as Zakanitch.” So I ended up making Rahway my legal middle name.

CVS: Many modern art movements extol intellectualism and the idea as the most important element in a work of art and reject romanticism, beauty, sensuality, and passion. You seem to embrace beauty.

RRZ: Great art is a balance of both emotion and intellect. The act of being an artist is the most romantic thing you can choose to do. For me, it is not how smart you are, but how you express visually what you feel. I make art from inside my heart. I am searching for truth. I believe that one of an artist’s major roles is searching for truth. Art is no longer rebellious and I don’t think artists should be rebels. Artists need to be directors and direct people to beauty. There is so much negativity directed at us in film, in everyday life. We need to direct people to beauty. Artists need to be healers.


Robert Rahway Zakanitch has created a significant body of work over the years and has exhibited internationally. He has survived in the tough N.Y. arena of art for decades and has found fame, but also managed to continue working in a genuine, truthful manner at creating work that is a balance of personal emotions and intellect. As an artist there is no better model.



25 September 2007

King ADZ
ISSUE 3 Press Release


100proof announce the release of Issue 3 of their urban culture PDF 100proofTRUTH
The only publication that gives real props to those it's due to, still repping all that's good in the world with 145 pages of visual diversity;

'Eclectic interviews, street art, graphics, and photography with a truly global urban youth perspective (uh, no not "urban youth" like pictures of 50 Cent posing with a cognac in Vibe magazine).' Fallon NYC on 100proofTRUTH

Featured Photographers are: Witold Krassowksi, Kent Baker, The Face Hunter, Faith 47, Paul Hartnett, Darrell Berry…

100proofTRUTH Issue 3 is all about the power of the photograph, with a few other talents thrown in for good measure, (like Sfaustina from San Francisco, Sun7 from Paris, Karan Rashad from Iran, Dzyla and Fani1 from Australia, and Laser 3.14 from Amsterdam.)


12 September 2007 - Naho

   The incredible artist Naho Taruishi is going to show videos that she made for a Brooklyn-based band called Ava Luna at MonkeyTown in Williamsburg on September 14th (Fri) at 8:30 pm and 10:30pm. This will be a multimedia showcase as a celebration for Ava Luna’s debut album titled “Lemming.”

   Please join us and enjoy the live music with a full chamber ensemble and visual performances, and vibrant atmosphere at the venue.

Two of my beautiful sisters: Naho and Chen

   For more info and make a reservation please visit. I am going to show videos I made for a Brooklyn-based band called Ava Luna at MonkeyTown in Williamsburg on September 14th (Fri) at 8:30 pm and 10:30pm. This will be a multimedia showcase as a celebration for Ava Luna’s debut album titled “Lemming.”

Please join us and enjoy the live music with a full chamber ensemble and visual performances, and vibrant atmosphere at the venue.

 New York Artists Chen Yerushalmi and Naho Taruishi

For more info and make a reservation please email me at ntaruishi@gmail.com or visit at: http://www.avalunaband.com/release/release2.html

For more info about direction to MonkeyTown, please visit at:

10 September 2007 - The Last Supper at The Hope Lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

    The Last Supper Film Festival is an indoor-outdoor film, food, music and art festival occuring in Brooklyn, NY during the crux of seasonal change at the end of September. Referencing the celebratory nature of the feast, and the symposium of genres, the festival kindles the creative miasma sparked by NY's peppery fall and inventive community. The last exposure to outdoor interaction before the shearing winter, The Last Supper uncovers the cornucopia of creative genres in our backyard.

13 short films from emerging directors,
13 artworks from budding artists,
13 dishes from brilliant culinarians,
and Music from 4 bands and 2 djs
will grace the dinner table at

Hope Lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 10 Hope St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn



The Tall Grass, Dorie Colangelo, Childress, The Outabodies,
SeekTen, Nick Richards, Devin Devaux

Coralina Meyer, Annie Weinmayr, Thomas Carruthers, Marianne Steel-Hayes,
Robert Steel, Kristy Quarto, David Button, Will Walker, Paul Edsall,
Jason Rosenstock, Ryan Brown, Charles Sabba, Erin Partridge

Sean Gormley, Leah Meyerhoff, Suzi Yoonessi, Joan Wallace, Chris Cruse,
Chuck Hadad & Daniel Figueroa, Annie Weinmayr & Geoff Bailey,
Nelson Kim, Matt Lambert, Nathan Kensinger, Thomas Newman,
Astrid Almkhlaafy, Nick Golbieski

Athena Kokoronis, Marissa Mickelberg, Dorie Colangelo, Bonnie Sherman,
Amelia Coutler, Chris Brunt, Jack Cat, Michael Cataldi, Kenny Curran,
Emma Fiegenbaum, Liz Mcternan, Sarah Pollack, Shoshi, miwa koizumi, Amanda Matles

Please email lambastic@gmail.com for questions or comments

Directions to Hope Lounge

Hope Lounge is located at 10 Hope Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, between Roebling and Havemeyer Streets, about 6 blocks from the L Subway station at Bedford/Driggs and N. 7th Street, and about 8 blocks from the JMZ subway station at Marcy and Broadway, a few blocks away from the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge. More particular

From the L Train
Take L train to the Bedford Avenue Station at Bedford/Driggs and N.7th Street. Exit the station on Driggs Avenue. Walk south for 4 blocks toward Metropolitan


8 September 2007

Jonathan LeVine Gallery; Art of Jeff Soto and Jim Houser, 8 Sept 2007.
Opening tonight at 19.00 hrs.

   Jonathan LeVine’s openings and exhibitions are out of this world. Forget about those boring Chelsea openings where stuffy people stand around and try to bore you by showing how intellectual they are, all the while afraid to have a drink or two while in the public view (the artworld has become too damn conservative!). LeVine’s openings draw an interesting crowd of people in a festive atmosphere. The conversation and attention is directed at the artists who are described on LeVine’s mission statement as “underground artists”. These are artists on the margins of society who might not otherwise receive their big breaks if LeVine did not respect and promote their work. A big plus for these artists is that little red dots accompany their works in abundance! This guy sells a lot of artwork. The Shepard Fairey opening in DUMBO last June was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at an art exhibition. ( OOOFA! What a night ;-) There was unlimited top shelf scotch, three professional bartenders, several DJs and dancing (It almost went sour when that broken down creep the Splasher attempted to blow up a stink bomb inside the joint; one of his little cronies—not the Splasher—was arrested for that very reckless attempted crime). Last night I attended the pre-opening at LevInes and the art work is outstanding. Painting is not dead!

This Hand Waits To Help, acrylic and collage on canvas; Houser

   Formerly operating as Tin Man Alley Gallery in Philadelphia and New Hope, PA, the Jonathan LeVine Gallery moved to New York in January 2005 and opened with a group exhibition, "Pop Pluralism" on February 5th.

   During its four years in Pennsylvania, Tin Man Alley was the area's epicenter for underground, outsider and cutting edge art. Proprietor and curator Jonathan LeVine now brings his formidable art background, fresh approach and discerning eye for both established and breaking artists to Chelsea.

California Ice Age (detail), acrylic on canvas; Soto

   Believing that underground art is a culture that defies simple characterization, LeVine exhibits a variety of celebrated, controversial, and unknown artists. Exhibitions rotate approximately every six weeks. An inventory of gallery favorites is on hand at all times, and limited edition prints, published by LeVine's Tin Man Alley Press, can be purchased in person and online.

Please come by and visit the Jonathan LeVine Gallery at 529 W. 20th Street, 9th Floor.
Or feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Shepard Fairey

529 West 20th Street, 9E New York, NY 10011
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm


5 September 2007


September 6 - October 13, 2007

Anton performing his performance art that celebrates the history of the Lower East Side.

“The Drawing Room”
Drawings 1963 - 2007
September 6 - October 13,2007

   Adam Baumgold Gallery presents the exhibition “The Drawing Room” by Anton van Dalen, from September 6 through October 13. The exhibition will include over 70 drawings plus sketchbooks from 1963 to 2007, several of which have not been publicly exhibited before. Recurrent themes in these drawings include the artist's changing neighborhood (The East Village), birds (has a pigeon coop on his Avenue A roof), cars, and the environment. The latest group of drawings from 2004 to 2007 focus on the macho power of mega corporations and the robotic depersonalization of the computer era.

View from Anton's place

   Among the drawings included in the exhibition is “11th and Avenue A,” 1977, in which we see a pre-gentrified East Villiage night scene with a burnt out, abandoned car and an imperious Great Dane, a street sign, and an old television in a surreal, almost lunar-like landscape. In recent drawings such as "Roadkill on the Information Highway"#7, 2004 an SUV is depicted as a monster that holds a Coca Cola bottle and battles a Big Mac behemoth. "Human Life in The Electronic Age"#1 is an ink and graphite drawing that shows a robotic man as a machine controlled by computer driven commands. All these drawings are executed with a crisp, clear graphic vocabulary and style as van Dalen continues to examine his long-standing aesthetic and social concerns for the subjects of nature, man-made objects, home, street, daily life, memory, and their tenuous relationship to each other.

Anton and his pigeons on the roof of his Lower east Side building.

   This is Anton van Dalen’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Van Dalen had a retrospective exhibition “The Memory Cabinet,” at Exit Art in 1988. His one-man performance “Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre” based on personal experiences has been shown at The Drawing Center and since 1995 has travelled throughout the U.S.A. and Europe, and recently at MOMA and The New York Historical Society where he was included in the exhibition “Petropolis.” He was also included in the exhibition “East Village USA,” at the New Museum in 2005. He has executed public art projects for the MTA, the NYC Board of Education and City College. His work is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art, among others. He was born in Amstelveen, Holland and lives in New York City.

View from Anton's place

   The gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11:00-5:30 PM. A preview of the exhibition can be seen at adambaumgoldgallery.com. For additional information, please contact Adam Baumgold at (212)861-7338.

Charlie Sabba and Anton Van Dalen on Anton's roof


27 August 2007

Police renew da Vinci theft plea

   Detectives have renewed an appeal for information about the theft of a Leonardo da Vinci painting from a castle exactly four years ago.

   Madonna with the Yarnwinder was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway in 2003. Detectives said they were still determined to find the painting, which belonged to the Duke of Buccleuch. However, they admitted that they were no closer to catching the culprits, with no current lines of inquiry. The artwork, which was painted between 1500 and 1510, had been in the Buccleuch family for almost 200 years.

   Valued at about 30m, it depicts the Madonna with the infant Jesus holding a cross-shaped yarnwinder.

   "We concede that there are currently no lines of investigation open to us," Det Ch Insp Michael Dalgleish.

   The painting was stolen in a raid involving four men. Two of them posed as visitors before overpowering a female staff member. All four then made their escape in a white Volkswagen Golf, which was found abandoned nearby.

   The painting was added to the FBI's list of the 10 most wanted pieces of stolen artwork in 2005.

   A substantial award is available for information which leads to the recovery of the work.

   Det Ch Insp Michael Dalgleish, of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, said: "Police in the region are still determined to recover the painting and bring those responsible for this crime to justice."

   "However, we concede that there are currently no lines of investigation open to us. "

   "Consequently, we are renewing our appeal for information and are urging anybody who may have knowledge of the crime or whereabouts of the stolen painting to come forward."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/08/27


19 July 2007

Betty Tompkinks now has a new home!
Check it out here!



9 July 2007

For Immediate Release


Eric Angles, Shinsuke Aso, Ryan Brown,
Matthew Deleget, Miyeon Lee, Jim Nolan, Karen Schifano

July 13 – August 18 2007

Opening reception: Friday, July 13, 6 - 8pm

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am - 6pm

“Members of one subspecies differ morphologically from members of other subspecies of the species. Subspecies are defined in relation to species. The distinction can be made in any of a wide number of ways, such as: differently shaped leaves, a different number of primary wing feathers, a particular ritual breeding behavior, relative size of certain bones, different DNA sequences, and so on.” (criteria of subspecies)

If the major classifications in art, for example — painting, drawing, sculpture, performance and installation— were compared to the species, these works by Eric Angles, Shinsuke Aso, Ryan Brown, Matthew Deleget, Miyeon Lee, Jim Nolan and Karen Schifano would be the subspecies. These artists both conceptually and materially distill segments from the surrounding environment: styles and theories of former art movements, social rules, wars around the world, the effects of  the global economy, ideologies of different eras, art materials, everyday objects and personal memories. In the process of creation the original meanings of these segments are often transformed, producing unique, idiosyncratic works of art.

Eric AnglesOpen Edition 6 is an unlimited production of sets of a monochromatic ready-to-paint-canvas and a screw that confuse the border between art-making and merchandise production. A four-foot high pile of postcards made of found papers and sold for 25 cents each represents Shinsuke Aso’s optimistic suggestion about survival and his views on unrealistic utopian thought, by commenting on small economies that depend on trust and honesty among people. Ryan Brown’s one-drip-a-day-for-one-year-painting contained in a specially-made attaché case with a paint bottle and a device to hold the bottle can be recognized as a painting, a sculpture and a documentation of a year long performance. Matthew Deleget intentionally appropriates the techniques of reductive abstraction to reveal and criticize stereotypical masculinity in Pink Nightmare, a bubblegum pink monochrome painting that has been destroyed with a hammer. The subject of Miyeon Lee’s painting is a painting hung on a wall in its symmetrical shadow. Her work exists between geometric abstraction and representation as well as between the second and third dimensions. Jim Nolan incorporates the detritus of Americana into sculptural narrative. Although his combination of mass-produced objects externally imitates the slickness of minimal art, it also often connotes playful and filthy jokes. Karen Schifano weaves lines and symbols ordinarily found on streets, sports courts and museum floors into canvases that extend lines from the wall to the floor and restrict human beings’ movement into geometric boundaries.

For further information, please contact at 212-431-7878 or e-mail tobeyfinearts@msn.com.



2 July 2007


6 July - 26 August

Friday 6 July, 6:30 to 8:30 PM

Curated by Tom Morton

   Cubitt is proud to present Handsome Young Doctor: A Show About Trust, the final full-length exhibition in Tom Morton's Cubitt programme.

   Handsome Young Doctor is a show in which trust - in manifest form and places of greater safety, in amorous encounters and visions of the future - is solicited, given, and now and then disgraced. Suffused with muted atmospheres of sex and sci-fi, the exhibition is concerned not so much with diagnosis as with bedside manner. The title Handsome Young Doctor does not necessarily denote medical subject matter (there are no pills or scalpels here), but rather the thing we seek in times of trouble, the thing that offers cure or comfort, the face that commands our needful faith.

   General Idea's seminal, seldom-shown video Hot Property (1978-81), is a sci-fi movie in which a fictional museum, the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion, is destroyed by fire on the evening of its opening. The piece concludes with the words "mystery will make the pavilion rise again", and we might imagine the other works in Handsome Young Doctor as artifacts salvaged from its ruined gallery spaces that, huddled together here, find a measure of solace in each other's company.

   Saâdane Afif's Memory of Fire (2003) is comprised of a provisional piece of exhibition furniture (knocked up, perhaps, to hide a DVD player from view), on top of which rests the bibliography of a found PhD thesis-in-progress on Anarchist and Libertarian societies in science fiction. In this work, the thing that supports the future is a non-thing, an object so modest that it has no proper name.

   Peter Newman's Metatron's Cube (2007), is named after a geometric pattern that contains all 5 platonic solids in orthogonally flattened form, which is said in early Kabbalist scriptures to have been created from the soul of the angel Metatron, the Voice of God. In Newman's work, this device is cut from a sheet of Space Blanket, a fabric designed by NASA is 1964 to protect spacecraft on their re-entry to the earth's atmosphere, resulting in a piece which echoes the sci-fi mysticism of the films Solaris (1972), Silent Running (1972) and Sunshine (2007).

   Betty Tompkins was, until recently, an art historically neglected figure, despite the significant contribution she made to the late 1960s / early '70s Photorealist movement. Often sexually explicit, her paintings have been refused entry into France in 1973, and were held at Japanese customs in 2006 after being designated as 'pornography'. For Handsome Young Doctor, Tompkins has painted two new canvases, in which a genital piercing recalls the rings of Saturn, and a precarious threesome resembles the docking starships in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

   Rannvá Kunoy's paintings draw on both high Modernists such as Willem De Kooning, and anonymous sci-fi illustration. Flickering between abstraction and figuration, her work, shown here for the first time in a UK public gallery, seems to be caught up in a perpetual process of becoming. If there are ghosts in these paintings - of a face, of a sun, of some trembling cosmic placenta - they belong not to the past, but to a future that will never quite arrive.

   Roger Hiorns' Untitled (2007) is comprised of a shoal of disposable contact lenses, scattered on the gallery floor in a manner that suggests a haphazard Felix Gonzalez Torres. Hardened by their exposure to the air, these protein-slicked objects bring to mind frogspawn, semi-precious stones, or scabs picked from the knees of a mineral God. The act of seeing, here, is invested with vulnerability, and maybe a serial ennui.

   Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely have collaborated as writer and artists on numerous cult and mainstream comics, including The Invisibles (1994-2000), New X-Men (2001-4) and We3 (2004). Handsome Young Doctor presents an original penciled page from their current comics project All Star Superman, which shows the title character giving his lover Lois Lane his powers in liquid form as a birthday present. This scene takes place in The Fortress of Solitude, a museum built by Superman in the arctic wastes where this alien creature retreats to ponder his own apartness from humanity, and his attempts to overcome it.

For more information or images about this event please contact Tom Morton or Bettina Brunner at info@cubittartists.org.uk or on +44 (0)20 7278 8226.

Exhibition kindly supported by Arts Council England, Representation of the Faroes in London, Institut Français, and Mitchell Algus Gallery, NYC.


3 May 2007

You're invited....

Works 1971 - 1979

May 3 - June 2, 2007

76 Grand Street
New York, New York

[see the full flyer here]


17 April 2007


16 April 2007


3 April 2007

The Heat on the Beat And the Artists on the Street - Part 1
By Charles Vincent Sabba Jr.
Rahway News Record - Rahway Arts District Column
April 3, 2007

    I have been approached by a couple of readers of this column who have expressed their bewilderment about a cop who is devoted to art. This inspired me to write this two part article about artist encounters with the law and two art loving police officers who are great characters in the history of art: NYPD Detective Robert Volpe, who was known as the “Art Cop,” and Commissioner Zamaron who at the beginning of the 20th century befriended many of the legendary artists of Monmartre and Montparnasse, Paris.

    The artist colonies of Monmartre and Montparnasse were made up of many different nationalities…French, Italian, Dutch, Mexican, Scandinavian, Russian, Spaniards, to name a few. The artists of Montmartre and Montparnasse had a special friend and protector named Zamaron. Commissioner Zamaron was the officer in charge of foreign nationals at the Prefecture of Police in Paris. He was an ardent art lover and always came to the assistance of the artists in need, especially his personal favorite, Maurice Utrillo. When off duty, this police officer would seek out his artist friends at the cafes such as the Dome and the Rotonde for drinks and good intellectual conversations. His friend’s paintings covered the walls of his police station office; there he proudly displayed works by the Italian Modigliani, the Lithuanian Kikoine, the Belarus-born Lithuanian Soutine, the Montmartre native Utrillo, and Utrillo’s mother, Suzanne Valadon. There was another, less honest officer named Descaves in Paris who loved art as well. Descaves would shake down the artists for their art works. Once in a while he would take a painting and pay a tiny installment after instructing the artist to stop by his office for the remaining sum on a future date. Of course the artists knew better not to do so. The honorable Zamaron was constantly protecting the artists from the dirty Descaves.

"Picasso Composite Sketch"; graphite on paper; C.V. Sabba.

     As you can imagine, the artists kept Zamaron quite busy. Modigliani and his pal Utrillo were constantly being picked up for drunk and disorderly conduct; Utrillo was an alcoholic and drank eight liters of wine a day. Both Picasso and Alfred Jarry (but Jarry was a more frequent violator) cocked and waved their pistols in the faces of drunken adversaries at the slightest insult and they loved to shoot out the gas lamps that lined the streets. In fact, pistol packing was in vogue in the artist quarters of those days; Picasso carried a browning every where he went, which he shot in the air in festive drunken folly and fired out of his bedroom window every morning as an alarm clock to awaken his friends. While dueling was illegal in this era, fistfights were not considered gentlemanly behavior, so the artists resorted to crossing swords and cocking pistols quite frequently. These neighborhoods, and a few of the cafes located in them, were breeding grounds for the popular anarchist movement. A number of illegal anarchist newspapers were being printed and distributed there. The artist Juan Gris was erroneously arrested after police officials mistakenly identified him as an anarchist named Garnier, who was a main suspect in a band of political bombers in Paris.

"Vincenzo e La Gioconda"; Oil on canvas; C.V.Sabba.

     One of the most famous police encounters involved Picasso and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire after the Monalisa, which was painted by Leonardo DaVinci, was stolen from the Louvre on Aug 21, 1911. Both Picasso and Apollinaire were both brought in for questioning as suspects in this crime. In 1907, a friend of Apollinaire’s named Ge’ry Pieret, stole several valuable artifacts from a storeroom at the Louvre, simply by placing them under his overcoat and walking out. Pieret was a former boxer from Belgium who turned to writing. Both Picasso and Apollinaire bought objects from Pieret and later denied knowing they were stolen. Picasso’s lover, Fernande Olivier, stated that Pieret warned Picasso on the day he bought two small Iberian heads, not to display them but to keep them hidden from view. Picasso kept the objects in an inconspicuous place, fully aware of their illicit nature.

"Vincenzo Perugia"; Oil on canvas; C.V.Sabba.

     After the theft of the Monalisa, Pieret sold his story, along with a full confession and a statuette from the museum, to the Paris-Journal. Pieret wanted a little cash and some notoriety. The article further humiliated the Louvre and implemented Picasso and Apollinaire; both were overcome with fear and contemplated throwing the artifacts into the Seine. Picasso was brought in for questioning, where he turned over the artifacts he possessed, and was released. Apollinaire was arrested on Sept 7, 1911. He was not released until Sept 12, 1911. Apollinaire was extremely frightened and hated his stay in a cell, however, for years after the fact, he would boast of being the only man in France to be arrested for the famous crime. The real culprit, Vincenzo Perugia, was arrested for this crime on Dec 11, 1913 in Florence, Italy. Perugia declared he was an Italian patriot and only stole the Monalisa so he could return her to Italy where she belonged. He incorrectly believed that Napoleon Bonaparte stole the painting from Italy as war loot and couldn’t stand seeing her in French hands.

"Cycladic Perugia, Monalisa and his Mandolino"; Terracotta; C.V. Sabba.

    In my next article I will introduce Robert Volpe to you; Bobby was an artist, a dedicated art lover, an NYPD art theft investigator and a protector of New York artists, collectors and dealers. In fact, many people in the N.Y. art world called him their archangel.

Rahway News Record - Promoting Art in the Community:


22 March 2007

Artists at War
By Charles Sabba
Rahway News Record
Mar 22, 2007

   We are at war, this is no secret. I want to make it clear that I consider myself a political realist and am neither for nor against this war, I only want the ends to justify the means (but do the ends ever justify the means?). I have to admit that I was very hopeful at the start of the Iraqi invasion that the Kurdish people, whom I have had a profound interest in since I met many of them in Turkey during the early 1990s, would finally establish a state of their own. I also wanted to see the Iraqi Shiites finally get a fair shake. As a military veteran and an artist though, I have come to the conclusion that artists belong at their easels and studios, not in the trenches. Artists are creators, not destroyers. In the past artists at war have done quite negatively, here I will introduce you to a few of the many examples of this.

   The Impressionist painter Claude Monet joined the 1st Regiment of African Light Calvary and served in Algeria in 1860. After seeing the Romantic paintings of N. Africa by artists such as Delacroix, Monet believed this experience would inspire his art. Instead, his art career was halted and his artistic voice silenced. After serving two years of a seven year enlistment, Monet caught Typhoid. An influential family member agreed to pull strings to get Monet an early discharge, as long as he promised to take academic art classes.


   Another shining star of the Impressionists, Frederic Bazille, volunteered for the Regiment of the Zouaves after the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870. Bazille was killed in action at age 29 in Beaunne-la-Rolande, Loiret. It was a terrible loss for Monet and the Impressionist group and they were stricken by grief.

   One the eve of WWI, many of the artists and poets of the Paris artist colonies were whipping themselves up into a patriotic fervor, getting drunk and toasting victory for France. They marched off to defend France despite the fact that many were foreigners.

   Guillaume Apollinaire proudly marched off in uniform and poetically placed a flower in the barrel of his rifle. He fought bravely and never complained about the conditions in the trenches (but did complain about the paper pushers who talked too much and acted very little, which is usually the case in dangerous jobs). A piece of shrapnel from a 150 mm bullet struck the poet in his head and entered his right temple. When he returned to civilian life, decorated with the cross of war, he was never the same again. He was no longer the cheerful, jovial, romantic poet and complained of headaches and dizziness. The war lasted 27 months and Apollinaire died from complications of this wound exactly 27 months after he was struck by the shrapnel. The world lost a genius.


   Another great poet, Swiss born Blaise Cendrars, joined the French army the day after Germany declared war. At first the war experience inspired his poetry, but that soon faded. Cendrars was struck in his hand by a shell and lost his right arm. The Polish born painter Moise Kisling was stabbed by a bayonet while fighting in the same regiment as Cendrars. Both heroes were awarded the cross of war and French Citizenship.

   Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were inseparable friends. Unfortunately they were separated when Picasso showed Braque to the train station as he left for war. The two painters had championed cubism and forged new avant-garde heights. Braque went off to the front as a 2nd lieutenant. He suffered a head wound and was trepanned. Braque was never the same man after the war and neither was the friendship he shared with Picasso.

   The Spaniard Picasso refused to enter the war, and since Spain was neutral, the artist was not obligated to do so. The women in the streets of Paris handed out flowers to young men who were not wearing uniforms as an insult. Picasso shrugged this insult off nonchalantly; after all, he was an artist and a lover, not a fighter, and certainly did not have trouble with the ladies, uniform or no uniform. Picasso did however hold rank. Apollinaire appointed him the rank of “General of Cubism”. Who can mock a general?

   General Picasso and the cubists can actually be credited for inventing camouflage techniques. In 1915, the French Ministry of War gave permission to a painter named Lucien de Scevola to gather a team of cubist artists, architects and theatrical set designers that could hide military equipment by effectively manipulating colors and shapes. Georges Braque participated in this mission. They baited enemy aviators by painting false canons, which seen from above appeared to be real, and disguised real canons with false branches. They gave snipers and machine gunners concealment by creating false walls, bales of straw, and fake buildings constructed of card board. They made fake trees with ladders behind them so observers could spy inside of enemy trenches. They successfully camouflaged artillery, trenches, trains, bridges and entire villages behind giant canvases painted to look like forests when viewed by planes flying above. After the war, the artists observed the ruins of war: felled trees, scorched earth, demolished buildings and a sea of soldiers’ graves. This turned the art world against war and established art norms as well. This dissatisfaction with the status quo contributed to the birth of the art movement that rebelled against normalcy, known as DaDa (which we will discuss in a future article about the artist colony in Ridgefield, NJ where two Dadaists named Man Ray and Duchamp lived and worked)

   I enlisted in the U.S. Navy out of patriotic fervor and a lust for adventure. The men and women who are dying in Iraq are volunteers who willingly signed the enlistment papers, much like the artists I mentioned in this article. This is part of the reason there is not a 60s type eruption of protest against this war on the part of the Bush Administration’s opposition. Many Americans believe we are there for a reason, but if the citizens who are against the war lost sons due to a draft, I’m sure our streets would once again see tumultuous rebellion. I have three beautiful daughters who are artistically talented. They are my little artists, although they are starting to rebel against their papa by talking about pursuing careers as doctors, dentists and teachers. I respond to the frolicsome ribbing of other fathers who ask me “What, no sons?” with the response: “I never have to worry about the draft.” This is how my brother in law, a Marine who saw heavy action in Vietnam, responded to the same question and I learned it from him. I proudly served in the military, but declare that the only way a military recruiter could come near my beautiful little artists would be over my dead body. Sorry Uncle Sam, family comes first! They are not going to die because of some politician’s bright ideas. If I had handsome, creative young sons I would be petrified right now.

   I had the pleasure of discussing this with my friend, Dr. Camillo Bica, who is a professor of philosophy in Manhattan. Dr. Bica served in the US Marine Corp from 1968-71, which included a thirteen month tour in Vietnam. He was a 1st Lieutenant and was the platoon and company commander. From 1982-1987, Dr. Bica founded and coordinated the Vietnam Veteran Self Help Initiative at the Dept of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Brooklyn; from 1987 to date he is a consultant to this program (pro-bono). Dr. Bica was a Hospital Ethics Committee member at the Dept of VA Medical Center, Brooklyn.

   Dr. Bica explained, “I would just like to add that artists are not unique in their being negatively affected by the horrors of war. So have philosophers, and bricklayers, and carpenters, and electricians, etc. War is an equal opportunity destroyer and does not discriminate between particular professions, talents, or nationalities. By the way, should the draft be needed, it may well be the case that girls, even girls with great artistic abilities, will be subject to conscription.”

   “Regardless of whether one joins or is conscripted, no one volunteers to be wasted in some useless and unnecessary war for corporate profit. Because one believes, like you and I did, that patriotism requires serving one’s country, does not sentence someone to become cannon fodder. It would be like saying, “well because you enlisted, you deserve whatever you get!” Further, I fear for everyone’s children and, being a philosopher, I must demand consistency. That is, if a parent believes that the war, the cause, is not worthy of their child’s life, limbs, or sanity, then neither is it worthy of the life, limbs, or sanity of someone else’s child. To support, or do nothing to stop, a war because it doesn’t personally affect me or my family, it is like saying “the war is OK as long as it is your children who die and not mine.”

   Now I am honored to hear some thoughts from Marine Reserve Colonel Matthew Bogdanos. I have the up-most respect for the Colonel, who is a native New Yorker, middleweight boxer, holds a degree in classics from Bucknell University, a law degree and a master’s degree in Classical Studies from Columbia University, and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. Col Bogdanos received a Bronze Star for counterterrorist operations in Afghanistan, and then served two tours in Iraq, where he was instrumental in recovering multiple Iraqi artifacts that were stolen from the Iraq Museum. Col Bogdanos has been assistant district attorney in Manhattan since 1988. In his recently written book “Thieves of Baghdad”, the Col describes his passion for art and antiquities and his valiant effort to recover looted antiquities. This book is a must read for any art lover who is interested in Mesopotamian antiquity.

Charles Sabba- Is the Iraq Museum now open to the public?

Col Matthew Bogdanos- The Iraq Museum has been closed for over 20 years and will not be open for many years until the security situation improves.

CS- There hasn’t been a lot of artistic exchange between Iraq and the U.S. in order to facilitate bringing the two peoples closer together. Do you believe a cultural exchange is possible in the future?

MB- There will be an artistic exchange, but it is not necessary to bring the peoples together. There is no problem between the good Iraqi and American people, there is only a problem between a very small faction of murderers who are murdering in Iraq and our armed forces.
The Iraqi treasures ought to go on tour around the world not just to exhibit their beauty, but to show the rest of the world that the nation is not made up of insurgents and murderers, who make up only 10% of the population, but a rich, diverse people. The Iraqi people are the cultural heirs to an extraordinarily rich, cultural heritage.

CS- We hear daily reports of the murder and mayhem that goes on in the hot zones of Iraq. How are the people getting along in the rest of the country?

MB- For the most part they are surviving. It is the randomness of the fighting that is debilitating.

CS- Colonel, you are a war hero. You heard my thoughts, as well as Dr. Bica’s. Would you care to comment?

MB- Make no mistake, I am opposed to war. I am in total agreement with John Stewart Mill on this that war is evil, but it is not the worst evil. Mill said that “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight for, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men.”
Both Dr. Bica and Col. Bogdanos are brave American heroes. They have different points of view, but the same love and respect of life, family and country. I am honored to share their thoughts with you. I did not desire to write an anti- or pro- war article, or slant in favor of either side of the argument that now rages across America. I only wanted to speak from the heart on the part of many artists and loving fathers. I hope I am contributing to a healthy debate amongst countrymen, rather then to the divisive, politically motivated bickering that I feel is taking place in both the conservative and liberal camps in Washington DC, and that is being propagated by the media. Many brave U.S., Coalition, and Iraqi military and police lives depend on wise decision making at this point; and let us not forget the courageous Iraqi citizens who stoically endure the most unimaginable hardships and family losses in their daily struggle to survive.

   To close, I want to share the profound thoughts of Adam “King Adz” Stone. King Adz is a British film writer/producer/director who, after reading the rough draft of this article stated: “Art is something you can’t define, almost like life itself. War is the opposite of both these things. I think you are standing on very dodgy ground by speaking about art and war in the same sentence.”

Rahway Record Arts District Column:


10 March 2007

Eric Arctander's first exhibition of 2007 - Spokane, Washington.
Based on memorials to Resistance fighters killed in the South of France during World War II.


9 March 2007 - R.I.P. Brother! Hundreds brave the frigid cold to attend the funeral of a fallen hero of the Newark Police Department.


Newark police officer killed when car flips
Asbury Park Press on 03/4/07

NEWARK: A veteran sergeant of the Newark Police Department died Saturday morning after his patrol car flipped over during a high-speed chase, authorities said.

Sgt. Tommaso Popolizio, 33, a husband and father of four children, joined a chase involving several patrol cars around 4 a.m. Police had responded to a report of drag racing on Doremus Avenue and stopped one of the vehicles attempting to flee.

During the chase, Popolizio lost control of his car and was partially ejected as the vehicle overturned. He was transported to University Hospital with severe head injuries and died a short time later.

The Associated Press


NEWARK, March 3 — A Newark police sergeant was killed early Saturday morning when his car flipped over as he chased a handcuffed suspect who had managed to drive away in another squad car, the authorities said.

The sergeant, Tommaso Popolizio, 33, was among several officers trying to crack down on drag racing on Doremus Avenue, a flat, straight stretch of road in an industrial corner of the city’s East Ward that has become notorious for late-night illegal races.

Shortly before 4 a.m., the police pulled over a car that was leaving the area, officials said, and one of the men inside, William Rodriguez, 22, was taken into custody. Mr. Rodriguez, of Cranbury, N.J., was placed in the back seat of a marked police vehicle with his hands cuffed behind his back, the police said.

But Mr. Rodriguez somehow maneuvered his hands and arms to his front, made his way into the front seat and drove away. As Sergeant Popolizio pursued Mr. Rodriguez, the two vehicles crashed, causing the sergeant’s car to overturn.

Sergeant Popolizio, who suffered severe head injuries, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at University Hospital in Newark, the authorities said. Mr. Rodriguez was found soon afterward hiding in tall weeds in an abandoned lot.

In a news conference Saturday at the hospital, Mayor Cory A. Booker called Sergeant Popolizio a Newark hero and a "cop’s cop." The officer had been with the police force for 12 years. He was married and had four children.

Police work was a family tradition for Sergeant Popolizio: Two of his three brothers were Newark officers and had served on the force with him. One of them, Nicola B. Popolizio, died in December at age 38 after suffering a heart attack, officials said.

Calling Sergeant Popolizio’s death a tragedy, Mr. Booker said, "A hero here died in the line of duty protecting our citizens, keeping us safe."

Sergeant Popolizio, the third officer killed in the line of duty in Newark since 2003, was remembered by friends as a committed officer, an avid paintball player and a doting father who was known as Paps.

One day in March 1999, he and a partner rushed into a burning, smoky building on Sunset Avenue to rescue three young children trapped inside. "All in a day’s work," he told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

Mr. Rodriguez was charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, auto theft, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and four other offenses. Officials said he had previously been arrested nine times, including an arrest last month in nearby Hamilton, N.J., on charges of eluding the police and resisting arrest.

Numerous questions remain about how Mr. Rodriguez was able to maneuver his arms from behind his back while handcuffed and get behind the wheel of a police vehicle as officers stood nearby. Mr. Booker and the Newark police director, Garry F. McCarthy, said such questions were part of the investigation.

Newark squad cars have sliding plexiglass partitions that separate the back seat from the front. It is virtually impossible to slide open the partition from the back seat. It was not known Saturday whether one of the back doors had been left open.

The Essex County prosecutor, Paula T. Dow, said she was outraged that Mr. Rodriguez had tried to escape in such a dangerous manner.

"It shows a risk that officers have to face every day, even on such an innocent thing like stopping drag racing," said Ms. Dow, who added that she did not blame the officers who first apprehended Mr. Rodriguez.

"I don’t fault anyone at all," she said, "except the defendant in this case, who is directly responsible, in my opinion, for this horrific accident."

Most handcuffed suspects remain seated in the back of squad cars. But it is not unheard of for one to try to escape by stealing the vehicle, according to news reports.

In 2001, a 19-year-old man in Tooele County, Utah, moved his cuffed hands from behind his back to the front of his body and stole a sheriff’s sport utility vehicle, then eluded deputies for a while by tracking the chase on the police radio.

In October, a 20-year-old woman in Delhi Township, Ohio, was handcuffed and put in the back of a police cruiser. The woman removed one of the handcuffs, reached out an open window to open the door and jumped into the driver’s seat, taking the police on a six-mile chase.

Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said escapes of this nature usually involve some deviation from procedure and should prompt the Newark Police Department to review its policies. "There is a long history of these things ending in tragedy whenever you fail to properly secure people in custody," said Mr. O’Donnell, a former New York police officer and trainer.

In Newark, the chain of events that led to the sergeant’s death began when officers went to the area of 354 Doremus Avenue in response to a complaint of drag racing. Officers pulled over a car leaving the area. Mr. Rodriguez, one of four people in the vehicle, tossed a gun from the window as police approached, officials said. The serial number on the gun, a 9 millimeter Glock that was later recovered by police, had been removed.

Mr. Rodriguez was arrested on a charge of possession of a handgun, handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car, the authorities said. The officers were attending to the other suspects when Mr. Rodriguez drove away.

After the crash, Mr. Rodriguez fled from the police vehicle. He took off several items of clothing and hid in tall weeds in an abandoned lot on Doremus Avenue, the police said. He was later found by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. One of the officers received a minor injury during Mr. Rodriguez’s arrest.

Mr. Rodriguez is expected to be arraigned Monday morning. His bail was set at $1 million, Ms. Dow said.

The street, a nearly three-mile straightaway that runs parallel to the New Jersey Turnpike, has been popular among drag racers for years. Mr. McCarthy, the police director, said that officers had made a number of arrests in the area in the past, and that in light of Saturday’s fatal pursuit, he would explore new ways to curtail racing there.

The Newark police enacted strict guidelines on car chases several years ago after police pursuits that resulted in deadly crashes. Officials said that the chase yesterday was an authorized pursuit, given the location, time of day and circumstances of the case.

Sergeant Popolizio graduated from Barringer High School in Newark, and had grown up on Mount Pleasant Avenue, one in a family of four boys and three girls.

He later took to playing paintball, and about three times a year, he and a group of friends would visit a range in northern New Jersey and splatter each other with shots. One of the group, Alberto Padilla, 33, said Sergeant Popolizio was always the best shot.

"Everybody made sure they had him on their team," said Mr. Padilla, who had known the sergeant for 20 years.

On Eagle Rock Avenue in Roseland, N.J., where Sergeant Popolizio lived with his wife and children, people embraced and talked on the porch of the modest wood-frame house with green trim. A Newark police officer on the street outside said that family members declined to comment.

Miles away, at the scene of the crash on Doremus Avenue, a bouquet of white roses lay beside a wooden telephone pole. One of the police cars in the chase appeared to have struck the pole. It was splintered at its base, and there were skid marks in the dirt next to the road. Both cars had been removed by late morning.

Marcelino Arce, a friend of the sergeant’s, had left the roses. Mr. Arce and Sergeant Popolizio used to live in the same building in Newark and became fast friends, going to Yankee games and shooting pool together. "He loved the job," Mr. Arce said. "His heart was the job."

Andrew Jacobs, Anthony Ramirez and Nate Schweber contributed reporting.


8 March 2007 - St. Patrick’s Day Art Heist

By Charles Vincent Sabba Jr.
Rahway News Record
March 8, 2007

William P. Youngworth at the Gardner Museum

   It was 01:24 am, on Mar 18, 1990, hours after the bagpipes in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade were silenced, long after the Guinness on tap was flowing a little slower and the poetry of Yeats was being recited with much softer voices by people who were just as intoxicated by the poet’s words as they were the stout. At 01:24, two thugs dressed as Boston police officers showed up at the side doors of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. They told the guards that they were investigating a noise complaint and were permitted to enter. The guards were bound and gagged and the thieves stole $500 million worth of art, including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, and Manet. Seventeen years later this case is still unsolved and the paintings are still at large. The FBI has interviewed a long list of suspects over the years. Among that list, two notorious art thieves with Irish Mob connections stood out: Myles Connors, who has admitted to committing over twenty art thefts, and an antiques dealer named William Youngworth. Their names are synonymous with art theft in New England. Connors once bargained his way out of prison by brokering the return of a Rembrandt that was stolen from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Youngworth has admitted to stealing that Rembrandt on Connors behalf when he was only sixteen years old. The two offered to orchestrate the return of the Gardner art, but they demanded a promise of immunity as well as the $1 million reward (now $5 million) that was being offered for the works return. The Feds refused to make deals because there was a suspected Irish Republican Army link. They also believed that if the culpable parties received a reward, art would get stolen more frequently from museums in the US.

   William states that he was one of the masterminds of the heist, but was incarcerated when the crime was committed. Word got out that the virtually defenseless museum was about to revamp its security system and it was imperative that the job went down expeditiously. The crew who committed the heist was made up of professional criminals, but not knowledgeable art thieves. They passed up more valuable works such as Titian’s “Rape of Europa” for lesser works like the drawings by Degas, and hacked two Rembrandts from their frames, one of which Billy claims is probably damaged beyond repair. William states that an IRA arms supplier named Joe Murray possessed the paintings until he was murdered by his wife. This is when Youngworth claims he temporarily took charge of the masterpieces.

   I have known William for a long time. During a 2006 visit he made to New York, I escorted him and his lovely wife around Chelsea, the Manhattan art gallery district. I took him to the James Cohen Gallery on W. 26th St to view what I thought was the hottest exhibition around. Upon looking at the large art works of the artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, William exclaimed “I wouldn’t even steal this work, let alone buy it!” This stated in earshot of the gallery’s owner! Billy is a funny guy.

   Billy is not big on contemporary art. His personal tastes lay in American Impressionism. He also likes Hudson River School works and Winslow Homer’s seascapes.
Billy stated: “My favorite is Michelangelo Caravaggio, then Titian. And Rembrandt! If I were to pick off another (steal) it would be Van Gogh’s self portrait at Harvard’s Fogg Museum. I have studied stealing that one more than anything else.”

   Billy now lives an honest life and has a very successful antique business he operates off of eBay. I recently questioned him about the antiques business and any thoughts he might have on the 17th anniversary of the art heist.

Vermeer's The Concert - Allegedly Seen In West Ireland by a British Art Dealer

Charlie Sabba: Tell us about the eBay operation.
William Youngworth: The antiques business, more specifically, the vintage and period furniture, is going very well. We have made the transition from operating the conventional street level shop to strictly running an e-commerce operation. While I’d love to tell your readership about our eBay operation, I can’t because I operate our new business using other people in front of me. I still fear reprisal from the Justice Department. This makes the fourth time in my life where I have had to re-build from nothing. We pay our taxes and operate a completely legal entity where our customers get the best goods available in New England.

CS: The City of Rahway is now establishing itself as the most important cultural center in NJ. Obviously antique shops will be a part of this. Are there any hip little artistic cities in Massachusetts that you can think of where we can look for ideas?
WY: You should study the City of North Hampton, Mass. Rahway, and its proximity to New York City, has the perfect opportunity to attract a cultured populace by showing that the arts, and a higher plane of thought and expression, are welcome in Rahway. What comes hand in hand with that is a chance for Rahway to increase its property values by showing visitors that Rahway can be, and is, an enclave of culture.

CS: You told me in the past that you were contemplating starting up a stolen art recovery business. You definitely have “insiders” knowledge. Have you made any grounds in this?
WY: I have already tossed my hat into the ring of the stolen art and antiquities asset recovery business. Last year I took on half a dozen cases and closed them all with resounding success. I find this work very easy for me in where I can approach a party who has absconded with my client’s property and clearly demonstrate to them very quickly that whoever I happen to be working for will not tolerate being abused and by bringing me into the situation I quickly show the wrong doer that justice can take on many forms and they have stolen from the wrong person.

CS: Speaking of possible recoveries, the $500 million dollars worth of Gardner art is still missing, any new thoughts seventeen years later?
WT: I hold little promise for the Gardner Museum, they have pursued some very bad advice and clearly demonstrated that their words hold very little truth or meaning.

CS: In a recent Sky TV documentary you countered three British experts testimony that the works are being held by Irish gangsters in West Ireland. An art dealer called “Turbo” stated he saw the stolen Vermeer in Dublin and you said that was absolutely not possible. Where can we go from here to retrieve America’s treasures? Is this story a book closed and out of print for ever?
WY: It is my best belief that the remaining artworks formerly belonging to the Gardner have reached their way into the hands of persons and governments that have a very long term game plan on their mind. If the Gardner were indeed serious about getting that art returned they would use their political muscle to have an amnesty announced proclaiming that no one will be charged with any crime conjunction with the robbery. As for these experts proclaiming to have seen the Vermeer in Ireland, well if you spoke to them long enough I wouldn’t be surprised to also hear them say that the Vermeer is hanging on a wall in Bigfoot’s cave. These people have some serious need for attention but they offer little else but some amusement.

CS: You have just been interviewed for Rolling Stone. What is the article about?
WY: Yes, the Rolling Stone feature will be coming out soon and it will be revealing. Jim Bamford, the author, is a truly capable journalist with a skill for separating fact from fiction. We will just all have to wait and see what direction the article takes, but with our service men and women dying in some insane war without its own legitimate goals or values, stolen paintings mean little.

CS: On a closing note, how are you going to celebrate St Patrick’s Day?
WY: I do little celebrating these days. I am just happy to come home and curl up on the couch with my little family around me. Simple pleasures to one who has had few are better than anything else the world has to offer one who has lived hard without any intention of dying fast.

CS: Happy St. Patrick’s Day pal.
WY: Thank you.

Rahway News Record Artist Colony Column:


3 March 2007 - Norman Rockwell’s “Russian Schoolroom”

   Steven Spielberg declared to authorities that he possessed a stolen Norman Rockwell painting worth $700,000. Spielberg bought the painting in 1989 from an art dealer and believed the sale was legit. The painting was stolen over thirty years ago from a gallery in Clayton, Mo. Steven Spielberg, respected art collector, is cooperating fully with the F.B.I.


11 February 2007

Lombard-Freid Gallery
531 West 26th Street,
New York, NY 10001

The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist
Michael Rakowitz

January 12 – February 17, 2007
Opening Reception: Friday January 12, 6-8PM

Michael Rakowitz; Group 1: Bearded Cow (IM42489), Ivory Horse (ND13231), Seated Male with Crossed Legs (IM41079) (Recovered, Missing, Stolen Series); middle eastern packaging and newspapers, glue;
bearded cow 4.33 x 4.33 x 1.97 inches; 11 x 11 x 5 cm; 2007.

   Lombard-Freid is pleased to present The invisible enemy should not exist, Michael Rakowitz’s most recent project, an attempt to reconstruct the archeological artifacts looted from the National Museum of Iraq in the aftermath of the American invasion in April 2003.

   The title of the exhibition takes its name from the direct translation of Aj-ibur-shapu, the ancient Babylonian street that was used as a processional way and that ran through the Ishtar Gate. This magnificent blue tile gate, which was excavated in Iraq in 1902-1914 by German archeologist Robert Koldewey, is on permanent exhibition at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. In the 1950s, the Iraqi government rebuilt the gate; close by stands a reconstruction of the ancient city of Babylon, created by Saddam Hussein as a monument to his own sovereignty. Today the reconstructed Ishtar Gate is the site most frequently photographed and posted on the Internet by US servicemen stationed in Iraq.

   The invisible enemy should not exist unfolds as an intricate narrative based on extensive research about the artifacts stolen from the Museum, the current status of their whereabouts, and the series of events surrounding the invasion, the plundering and related protagonists.

   Alluding to the implied invisibility of these artifacts—initial reports about their looting were inflated due to the “fog of war,” stated Museum officials—the reconstructions are made from the packaging of Middle Eastern foodstuffs and local Arabic newspapers, moments of cultural visibility found in cities across the United States. The objects were created together with a team of assistants using the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute database, as well as information posted on Interpol’s website. This exhibition represents the incipient stage of an ongoing commitment to recuperate the over 7,000 objects that remain missing.

Michael Rakowitz; Bearded Male Statue (IM19754) (Recovered, Missing, Stolen Series); middle eastern packaging and newspapers, glue; 16.14 x 5.91 x 3.15 inches; 41 x 15 x 8 cm; 2007.

   Serving as a display structure for the recreated artifacts, Rakowitz has designed a long continuous table, whose shape derives from the measurements and layout of the Processional Way.

   A series of episodic drawings punctuate the installation. The drawings reveal a narrative that includes the story of Dr. Donny George, former President of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and Director General of the National Museum in Baghdad, who worked tirelessly to recover looted artifacts.

   Under Saddam Hussein, Dr. George worked at archeological sites to avoid Ba’ath Party meetings and also sidelined as a drummer in a band called 99%, which specialized in covers of Deep Purple songs. A version of their “Smoke on the Water,” recorded especially for this project by the New York-based Arabic band Ayyoub, becomes the sound background for the show. The original lyrics recall a disastrous fire during a Frank Zappa concert at a Swiss casino, in which the entire building was destroyed. After threats to his family, Dr. George resigned his post, fleeing to Syria in August 2006. He arrived recently in the US as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology at SUNY Stony Brook.

Michael Rakowitz; Bull Head (IM45020), Excavation and Extraction (Recovered, Missing, Stolen Series); middle eastern packaging and newspapers, glue; bull 8.27 x 11.81 x 8.27 inches; 21 x 30 x 21 cm; 2007.

   Michael Rakowitz’s recent exhibitions include Return, a project in which he resurrected his Iraqi grandfather’s import-export business in order to bring Iraqi dates to the US—the first such shipment in over 25 years. The shop was located on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn in the heart of New York City’s Arab community. The project was presented by Creative Time as part of its Who Cares initiative. Rakowitz’s upcoming exhibitions include the Sharjah Biennial 8 and the Istanbul Biennial.


10 February 2007

University of Scranton Library Exhibit Focuses on Hoaxes and Forgeries Story
The University of Scranton News and Information Service
2 February 2007

    The University of Scranton’s Weinberg Memorial Library’s upcoming exhibit “Harmless to Homicidal: A Collection of Hoaxes and Literary Forgeries from the Library of Stephen R. Pastore” will open with a 7 p.m. reception in Monday, Feb. 12.

    The forgeries in the exhibit include a titulus supposedly used at the crucifixion, an early printed book documenting the forgery of Mary Queen of Scot’s treasonous letters, one of the only William Ireland forged Shakespeare letters in private hands, a Revolutionary war pass “signed” by George Washington, a letter of Lord Byron forged by Wilkes-Barre resident and purported Byron descendent Major George Byron, an Emily Dickinson poem forged by master forger and Mormon murderer Mark Hoffman, and many other forgeries of noted literary and historical figures.

A forgery of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat";  photograph; The University of Scranton.

    Also included are literary hoaxes such as the Spectra Hoax (1916) wherein a couple of Romantic poets disillusioned with early modernist poetry, created a literary magazine with purposely obtuse poems intended to mock T.S. Eliot and other modernist poets. Instead, the new poetry journal was praised by critics.

   Another hoax exhibited involved the creation of what turned out to be the best-selling novel Naked Came the Stranger supposedly written by Penelope Ashe in 1969, but actually composed by various members of the staff of Newsday in a successful attempt to create a purposely horrible novel to show how far standards of taste had fallen in America.

   A rare pirated copy of Clifford Irving’s fabricated Autobiography of Howard Hughes will also be exhibited.

   The collection is on loan to The University of Scranton by Stephen Pastore, a book collector and bibliographer. He is the author of Sinclair Lewis: a descriptive bibliography: a collector’s and scholar’s guide to identification, and A collector’s guide to the works of Thomas Hardy: a bibliographical study.

   The exhibit will be on display in the library’s fifth floor Heritage Room until Apr. 22, during normal library hours. A catalog, which discusses the historical context for each of the forgeries and hoaxes is also available.

   For additional information, contact Michael Knies, associate professor and Special Collections librarian at The University of Scranton at 570-941-6341.


15 January 2007 - Final day of 48 hour line art performance
                                 at Gallery Aferro in Brick City!

   This performance piece received an outstanding response from the Newark artist community. This was not just your usual art on wall communicating to the viewer; in this piece the viewer, and all gallery visitors who walked in from Brick City's streets, actually became creators of the art work that was being viewed. An art piece that was being 'lived' by the community. We believe in the transformative power of art. It can transform lives, as well as whole city streets and neighborhoods! "


11 January 2007 - First Night of 48 Hour Line Art Performance:
                               2300hrs to around 0130 am


10 January 2007

$35G painting found being dragged down Jersey City street, cops say
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

   Stolen from St. Peter's College over the weekend, a $35,000 painting was recovered Monday night from a convicted drug dealer dragging it down a Jersey City street, officials said.

   The painting, part of series titled "Reality of Unreality," was created by Stephen Sacklarian, who died in 1983.

   "I think it's wonderful there are art critics who are able to appreciate wonderful paintings and will go to any length to acquire them," joked Arthur Furman of Ethel A. Furman & Associates in Virginia, the sole U.S. dealer of Sacklarian's work.

   At 9:09 p.m. Monday police spotted Paul Minor, 46, of Jewett Avenue, dragging the large painting down Monticello Avenue, reports said.

   Minor told the cops he found the painting near Fairmount Avenue but wouldn't say more and was arrested on the charge of receiving stolen property, reports said.

   Charges against Minor could be upgraded if it is determined he was involved in the theft of the painting, officials said.

   Minor has served time in prison for drug possession and dealing drugs near a school, state corrections officials said.

   The 1977 painting was donated to St. Peter's two decades ago and since then had been hanging in the first-floor hallway of Hilsdorf Faculty Memorial Hall, a building on Glenwood Avenue just east of Kennedy Boulevard, said a St. Peter's fine arts professor, the Rev. Oscar Magnan S.J. The painting was brought to Magnan's studio yesterday afternoon and he will find a safer place on campus for it.

   The painting was last seen on Friday evening by the Rev. Mark Destephano, S.J., and on Monday morning he noticed it was missing, Magnan said. Officials said the college did not report it missing immediately because it was not known whether it might have been moved for some legitimate reason. By Monday evening police detectives were investigating.

   Sacklarian's paintings are in more than 60 museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He traveled extensively and visited with Picasso, Matisse, Henry Moore, Gorky and others, according to Furman, his art dealer.

   Sacklarian's art is populated with amorphous figures and whimsical forms that often float against bright, angular backgrounds or subtle dark fields of color. His work has sold at auction at Phillip's, Christie's and Sotheby's, according to Ethel A. Furman & Associates. Furman said the
highest sale price he knows of for a Sacklarian work is $50,000.



5 January 2007

Drawing A Crowd '48 Hr Line’ to Create Arty Party in Newark
Friday, January 5, 2007

Where: Gallery Aferro, 73 Market St., Newark

When: Noon Thursday-noon Jan. 13. Gallery regular hours are noon-4 p.m.
Wednesdays; 4-8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays

How much: Free. Visit www.aferro.org.



   On Thursday, precisely at noon in the big storefront windows of Newark's independent, artist-owned Gallery Aferro on Market Street, artist Ryan Brown will start to draw a line on a big sheet of seamless white paper tacked over the gallery's every available wall space.

   Brown and anybody who would care to come along and spell him awhile will not stop making that line move for a solid 48 hours, not until noon the following Saturday, Jan. 13, come hell or hand cramps.

   "Ryan is just back from a residency in Germany where he did eight-hour lines and met all kinds of people," says artist and gallery owner Emma Wilcox, who founded the Aferro with Conceptual artist Evonne Davis. "He just really seems to enjoy people, and since this is a time of year when it gets dark early and the city streets seem to feel kind of empty, we thought it might work to have a performance that went on all hours. That's what makes a city grand, having places open any time, day or night."

Ryan and Vincent Boschma

   The all-night performance marks a growing confidence in Newark's small but increasingly visible downtown contemporary arts community. Last year the Newark Museum and the nonprofit City Without Walls sponsored internationally known performance artist William Pope L.'s "Black Factory" actions in city parks and streets, and a distinguished group of Newark and New York artists joined in "Newark Between Us," which just closed after a second successful, annual show in empty downtown office space. "48 Hour Line" would be the first all-night art event downtown in recent memory.

   The idea for a continuous drawing executed over an extended period has its roots in automatic writing and Surrealism, but Brown's graphic events are more like group identity maps. As the marker is passed from hand to hand, each successive "handwriting" transforms the drawing.

   "You know, we expect kids to work on it for a while, so that means the drawing will move along three feet above the gallery floor, because they're shorter," Wilcox says.

   "48 Hour Line" will invert the usual role of drawing -- intimate, personal, the place for immediate inspirations or first thoughts -- and transform it into a spectacle of public endurance. But it will also be very much in the spirit of the Aferro, the name of which is taken from the Portuguese idiom for being "ironbound" or wedded to a difficult idea. The gallery was first established in 2003 in an Ironbound loft that the group lost to eminent domain in 2005. They have been in their Market Street location since May, with a one-year lease (they are currently seeking an extension).

    Co-founder Davis has mounted popular "guerrilla" art exhibitions in odd venues, like vacant lots at Coney Island, and Wilcox describes their formal mission as "bringing cultural education and aesthetic engagement in contemporary issues to all people equally."

    Brown and the artists associated with the Aferro, along with neighborhood friends and other artists from Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, will be socializing in the gallery while the drawing is being made, making the artwork a kind of backdrop for a party.

    In addition to creating a succession of individual marks, the "48 Hour Line" will also register differences in tone, reflecting, for example, just how tired Brown gets as he tries to keep working the line himself over the two-day-long event. Hand cramps really can make a difference.

Ryan and Charlie Sabba

   "This sort of thing may seem unusual to someone who has an academic background in art," Wilcox says, "and in fact it is still fairly rare to find art based on audience participation. We want it to be a little bit like those First Night celebrations that cities sponsor, you know, a safe, fun night, getting people outdoors after dark in Newark. It should be interesting."

Marika, Ryan, and Steve


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