Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
"During the proceedings, the prosecutor took the time to mention that no other printer in the world could do what Kuhl had done."
Hans-Jurgen Kuhl was able to create "shockingly perfect" copies of the American $100 bill by using his artistic talents to conquer the various security features present in the bill.
Michael Mann's "Thief" is a film of style, substance, and violently felt emotion, all wrapped up in one of the most intelligent thrillers I've seen. - Roger Ebert [more inside]
Normally, when you buy stolen goods, you don't legally own them. The person they were stolen from still does. Unless: Until 1995, if you bought them in Bermondsey Market, London, between the hours of sunrise and sunset, they would then belong to you, even if clearly stolen.
Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.
Although [Michael] Mann has said he was inspired by a true story from Chicago in the late 1960s, the film is no gritty realist number about desperate thievery. Rather, HEAT is a high-gloss creature of its time, utilizing the classic "duel between cop and robber"... to thematize lifestyle issues in the mid-1990s. Specifically I argue that, for all its slickness and emphasis on style and personality, HEAT is a film about work and its increasing personal costs. For the characters in HEAT, work provides excitement* and challenge, but it ultimately excludes any emotional life outside of the demands of the job. *That's the shootout scene
After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
Caravaggio's crimes exposed in Rome's police files: "Four hundred years after his death, Caravaggio is a 21st Century superstar among old master painters. His stark, dramatically lit, super-realistic paintings strike a modern chord - but his police record is more shocking than any modern bad boy rock star's. An exhibition of documents at Rome's State Archives throws vivid light on his tumultuous life here at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries." [
Via] [more inside]
“But I decided on the Mona Lisa, which was the smallest painting and the easiest to transport.” “So there was no chance,” asked the court, “that you decided on it because it was the most valuable painting?” - From Vanity Fair, the twisting, engaging story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight in 1911. (via)
It may be the worst police sketch ever: "The head is shaped like a rugby ball, the lips slide to one side, the nose is phallic, the ears are missing and the hair is having a very bad day." But it led to two arrests, and one television station, in order to protect the identities of the arrested, seemed to think it was a good idea to superimpose the illustration on top of the faces of the suspects.
New York artist Ashley Hope's Ripeness is All exhibit at the Tilton Gallery recreates crime scene photographs of murdered women from the 1910s through the 1990s as oil paintings on huge 4' x 6' canvasses. [some nsfw art] [more inside]
Art Crimes is a fascinating site about the history of vandalism in the fine arts, recently revived by a Frenchwoman who left a lipstick imprint on a 2 million dollar painting by Cy Twombly. Other examples include a British suffragist attacking a Velazquez with a knife, an installation vandalized by the Israeli ambassador to Sweden, two Chinese performance artists who urinated into Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, and a Canadian art student who vomited blue gelatin on a Mondrian. Oddly enough, the artwork that has weathered the most attacks is Rembrandt's The Night Watch, which has survived two knife attacks (one by an unemployed teacher with a butter knife) and an attack by a mental patient who had a compulsion to fling sulfuric acid at fine artworks. Other art vandalism methods, including glass cutters, hammers, scissors, guns, and ink, are discussed here.
Private Collection - an exhibit of not-so-rare objets d'art stolen from European galleries. Apparently, it's "a reaction to the commoditization of art and to gallery monopolies that price art, dictate which artworks have value, and set themselves up as the arbiters of artists' qualities," but you might find the gag funny anyway. [via mlarson.org]
Truman Capote's Blood Work Two soon-to-be released films on Truman Capote's life, Capote and Have You Heard? begin as the novelist drops into rural Kansas to begin work on what became "In Cold Blood". More inside.
Borf is dead. The masked mystery whose ubiquitious graffiti has confused Washington for months is revealed to be an 18-year-old anarchist. He had a good run, though, getting his work on dozens of locations in D.C., then going on tour through Raleigh, New York and San Francisco, inspiring an internet following in the process. And while his work wasn't brilliant enough to match the romantic counterculture image he tried to create, there's a truly sad story behind his pseudonym and icon: both belong to a friend who committed suicide two years ago. Of course, that's unlikely to arouse the sympathy of the various city officials spending (I would assume) hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove his work.