Abirpothi

India’s only daily art newspaper

After 2 years, 3 jailed for Hong Kong’s record-breaking US $637 million art heist

A SUMMARY OF THE MOST EXCITING ART NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

While we focus on Indian art, we can’t obviously function in a vacuum. It’s a small world and everything is connected, especially on the web. So, let’s train our spotlight across the world map to see what’s going on — from art trends to socio-political issues to everything that affects the great aesthetic global consciousness. Or, let’s just travel the world and have some fun!

HK art heist thieves caught after selling billion-dollar scroll written by Mao Zedong   

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Three burglars who carried out a record-breaking US $637 million art heist in Hong Kong but remained oblivious to the value of their historic haul were jailed on Friday, local media reported. Hong Kong’s art community was rocked by the theft that included a two-metre tall scroll containing a 1929 Politburo report written by Mao Zedong valued at hundreds of millions of dollars – but was sold to an amateur collector for just HK $200 (US $25). When police recovered the parchment a month after it was stolen, they discovered it had been cut in half to make it easier to store by the collector, who also did not realise it was genuine. The items were lifted in September 2020 from an apartment belonging to Chinese collector Fu Chunxiao in the city’s bustling Kowloon district. Hong Kong Free Press reports. 

  

Nefarious art world players: After Russian freeze out, will Saudi Arabia or China be next?   

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Certain people have always spent huge amounts of money on art and, in recent decades, quite a few of them were Russians. But now, as the world looks on in horror at what is happening in Ukraine, some of the art trade’s most prominent mega-clients have been included in the lengthening lists of wealthy Russians facing sanctions in the West. Most prominent of all is the London-based billionaire Roman Abramovich, who in 2008 spent $120m in a week on works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud at auctions in New York. The official UK Government website now describes him as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch” who for decades has had a “close relationship” with Putin that has resulted in “preferential treatment and concessions”. So, what’s next? The Art Newspaper presents a fascinating analysis. 

  

How two Ukrainian art dealers rescued valuable paintings 

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It was a rescue operation that reads like the plot of a war thriller — an art dealer and a gallery owner from Ukraine risking their lives to save works of art from the embattled city of Kyiv. They didn\’t do this on behalf of the government or any other organization, but on their own initiative as art lovers. Katharina Vozianova and Oleksandr Shchelushchenko revealed to Deutsche Welle how they managed to bring the works of art to Germany. Lacking the proper packaging material, gallery owner Shchelushchenko and his armed helpers rolled up the artworks of contemporary artists Ievgen Petrov and Mykola Bilous and packed them into sewage pipes, which kept the artworks protected. Vozianova toured Kyiv to save more artworks from her own apartment and collected valuables that her friends had left behind when they fled. The artworks survived the journey from Kyiv to Munich. What will happen to them now is still uncertain. Hindustan Times brings you the drama-packed journey. 

 

Welcome to the jungle — inside Mexico’s groundbreaking natural art gallery  

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It is hard to tell where the jungle ends and the building begins at SFER IK Uh May — an art space located in the forests of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, in what feels very much like the middle of nowhere. Opened in 2018, then closed again by the pandemic, the 10-acre complex aspires to be a new kind of museum, at harmony with its surroundings and open to the kinds of art that would never make their way into MoMA or Tate. There are some 200 trees left untouched where they were growing, while the museum was erected around them. Rather than being another identikit white-cube-style art space, the architecture aims to be “biophilic”, embracing the jungle rather than rejecting it. The Guardian elaborates. 

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