Suspect in ballet director's acid attack questioned
Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Russia's Bolshoi Ballet, was attacked with acid in January.
March 5th, 2013
06:03 AM ET

Suspect in ballet director's acid attack questioned

Police are questioning a suspect in connection with an acid attack that disfigured the artistic director of Russia's illustrious Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow authorities said Tuesday.

Sergei Filin was doused with acid by a masked assailant in January, an attack that caused severe burns.

Russian authorities gave little more detail on the investigation.

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Filed under: Art • Crime • Russia
October 25th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Iconic Afghan girl photo among National Geographic items up for auction

National Geographic has made its mark by bringing the world - in all its grandeur, beauty and horror - into people's living rooms.

Soon, some won't be limited to a glimpse from a magazine or a snippet from a TV show: They can get the full picture, literally, from the National Geographic Society as it auctions off originals of some of its  most well-known, evocative works.

The auction house Christie's announced this week that it will put up for sale "fine art from the archives of the National Geographic Society." The items will be available for viewing from December 1 and 5 at Christie's gallery in New York, then go up for bid on December 6.


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Filed under: Art • Auctions
Rothko painting defaced in London
Tim Wright says he captured the image of the defaced painting at Tate Modern on Sunday.
October 7th, 2012
03:53 PM ET

Rothko painting defaced in London

A Mark Rothko painting was defaced at London's Tate Modern on Sunday.

"Tate can confirm that at 15.25 this afternoon there was an incident at Tate Modern in which a visitor defaced one of Rothko's Seagram murals by applying a small area of black paint with a brush to the painting. The police are currently investigating the incident," a museum spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail.

Museum-goer Tim Wright witnessed the act of vandalism and posted an image on Twitter.

The 23-year-old Bristol resident said he was at the Tate during a day trip to London with his girlfriend when the couple realized what was going on. He noticed a man walk into the exhibit, but he thought nothing of it until he heard a "smashing sound."

“It was very surreal. It wasn’t something we expected to see. One minute he sat down, and the next minute he put his foot over the barrier,” Wright said of the vandal.

Wright said they saw the man as he finished up the tag and then made his getaway. He and his girlfriend stayed at the exhibit while a group of nearby women went to find museum staff. An alarm soon went off, and the museum was evacuated. Wright said he and his girlfriend gave a description of the event to a museum employee.

Tate confirmed that the gallery was "briefly closed" due to the incident.


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Filed under: Art • Europe
Comments: Have you experienced Warhol's iconic '15 minutes' of fame?
The Campbell Soup Company celebrates the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol's soup can series with special edition labels.
September 5th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Comments: Have you experienced Warhol's iconic '15 minutes' of fame?

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here's some comments we noticed today.

Andy Warhol once said that "in the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes." He's been dead for 25 years, but he's still got his fame. This week, 1.2 million limited-edition cans of condensed tomato soup with Pop-art-inspired labels go on sale to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Warhol's famed art piece "32 Campbell's Soup Cans."

Readers shared their thoughts on the artist's style and got us thinking about our own fleeting moments in the limelight.

Andy Warhol's '15 minutes' of fame are not up yet

One reader described her Warhol-esque decor.

AndreaMilnes: "I love Warhol, and really pop art in general. You should see my apartment, it's a minor explosion of modernism and it happens to feature the Warhol Wall. Fittingly above my TV I have four tinted photos of him, each with a quote, and I freakin love it. The quotes aren't particularly deep (ex: "everybody must have a fantasy") but then I'm not particularly deep either. It's part of the reason I love his work, you don't have to be 6ft up your own rear and up to your eyeballs in meaning to be interesting and produce great art. Art is awesome when it's done merely for the sake of itself. Add in the pop cultural and fashion aspects of Warhol, and it's a recipe for my adoration. So please believe I'll be eating lots of soup for a while, lol!"

Others took a different view.

norcalmojo: "Warhol was the Sid Vicious of the art world. He knew his art was commercial junk and also knew that people would buy anything if they were told it was cool. It was a joke on his own fans. At least Pistols' fans were in on the joke. Warhol fans are still convinced they're sophisticated."

One commenter described the story of Billy Name, a photographer who knew Warhol at the time the artist survived being shot. He described Name's apartment as a "mini Warhol gallery." FULL POST

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Filed under: Advertising • Art • Comments
Church masterpiece 'restored' as Mr. Bean would do it
Pictures provided by the Center for Borja Studies show the original version of the painting Ecce Homo, by 19th-century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, from left, the deteriorated version the center recently documented, and the version "restored" by a parishioner.
August 23rd, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Church masterpiece 'restored' as Mr. Bean would do it

The efforts of an elderly parishioner to restore a 120-year-old fresco on a column inside a Spanish church have some wondering if a Mr. Bean movie was the inspiration for the effort.

The fresco, titled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), is a depiction of Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns. It was painted on a wall of the Sanctuary of Mercy at Borja, near Zaragoza, Spain, by artist Elias Garcia Martinez more than a century ago.

Its troubling "restoration" occurred after the local Center for Borja Studies received the donation of a canvas done by Garcia from one his granddaughters who lives nearby, according to the center's blog.

Center staff noted that the only other known work by Garcia in the area was Ecce Homo, went to the church to photograph the fresco, and realized it was in bad shape.


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Filed under: Art • Spain
Artist LeRoy Neiman dies at 91
June 20th, 2012
11:34 PM ET

Artist LeRoy Neiman dies at 91

American artist LeRoy Neiman, known for his handlebar mustache and his portrayals of athletes, has died in New York, his publicist said. He was 91.

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Filed under: Art • Obituary • Sports • U.S.
Warhol piece among high-priced art stolen in Detroit
A 3-foot-by-3-foot silkscreen Andy Warhol used to make "Flowers" prints was stolen last month, the FBI says.
May 22nd, 2012
08:11 PM ET

Warhol piece among high-priced art stolen in Detroit

FBI agents are trying to determine who stole 19 pieces of high-priced art, including an Andy Warhol silkscreen, from a Detroit business.

The art - worth millions of dollars, according to CNN affiliate WDIV - was taken between April 27 and April 29 from a business owned by an art collector in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, the FBI said Tuesday. The agency didn't name the business or the owner.

The collection includes a 1960s silkscreen that Warhol used to make “Flowers” prints, according to the FBI.  The other pieces of art, including paintings and drawings, were done by Larry Rivers, Francesco Clemente, Philip Taaffe, Joseph Beuys and Peter Schuyff.

Investigators suspect that the thief or thieves “may have already crossed state lines, if not left the country, in an effort to sell them,”  FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet said.

“We’re putting a message out to art dealers, pawn shop owners, and anyone dealing in art to be aware of it,” Shaykhet said.

The art was neither locked up nor on display, the FBI said.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for the pieces’ recovery. They have been entered into the FBI’s national stolen art database.

Up to $6 billion worth of art is stolen each year, according to the FBI.

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Filed under: Art • Crime • Michigan
May 22nd, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Controversial Zuma painting defaced on-camera

The African National Congress wanted to go to court to force a South African gallery to remove a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

The ANC got its wish, but it was two vandals, not a judge, who granted it.

Local station eNews Channel was at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg with cameras rolling when one man calmly approached the portrait, called "The Spear," and painted red crosses over the face and genitals.

Next came another man who smeared black paint over most of the image.

Watch the video above to see the vandals attack, see the violent arrest and hear the stunned reaction of the reporter as it all unfolds.

Opinions on "The Spear" are divided. CNN's "Open Mic" gave some South Africans a chance to vent. Watch below to hear what they're saying. Which side do you support?

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Filed under: Africa • Art • South Africa • Uncategorized • World
Google Doodle honors artist Keith Haring
May 4th, 2012
06:57 AM ET

Google Doodle honors artist Keith Haring

Today's Google welcome page honors the birthday of artist Keith Haring, whose distinctive cartoons became part of the cultural landscape of the 1980s.

"His populist philosophy is easily traceable in his paintings: he used simple, energetic line drawings to transmit important social messages as they emerged in the 1980s," according to Gale Biography in Context.

"Warning of the dangers of crack cocaine and other drugs, espousing safe sex and anti-apartheid logos, Haring traveled to many countries around the world, sometimes joining school children to encourage self-expression."

Haring, who learned that he had AIDS in 1988, established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989, which supports non-profit organizations that help children as well as groups involved in education, research and care related to AIDS.

He died of AIDS at age 31 on February 16, 1990.

Filed under: Art • Google • Technology • U.S. • Uncategorized
For $2,500, Brooklyn artist invites 1% to take home complaints of the 99%
An Armory Show attendee examines Sebastian Errazuriz's Occupy Chairs in New York.
March 9th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

For $2,500, Brooklyn artist invites 1% to take home complaints of the 99%

Sebastian Errazuriz is at it again, making political statements with his art. This time, the target is the 1% - of which he may be a member when the art exhibit is through.

The Chilean-born artist used placards from the Occupy Wall Street movement as his muse and painted some of the movement's slogans onto wooden fold-out chairs. The acrylic paint messages include, "Hungry? Eat a Banker," "Kill Corporate Greed" and "Too Big to Fail is Too Big to Allow."

"The artist wishes to support the 99% by inviting collectors (representing the 1%) to purchase the complaints as art or furniture, thus introducing the ideas of one group into the homes of another and at the same time getting the rich to support the cause of the 99%," a news release states.

There are eight Occupy Chairs, and 10 of each design. The eight designs are on display at the Cristina Grajales Gallery booth at the Armory Show, an annual modern art fair in Manhattan that began Thursday and runs through the weekend.

Though Errazuriz, 34, doesn't shy away from bold statements - such as, say, planting 1,100 crosses under the Brooklyn Bridge to highlight the number of deaths in New York each week - his latest endeavor made him nervous.

"I honestly didn't know if the 1% would buy the Occupy Chairs or feel attacked and insulted," he said. "The other gallery people looked at us like, 'What the hell are (they) doing bringing protest signs to an art fair focused on collectors who are obviously all 1%?' "


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Filed under: Art • Chile • Economy • New York • Occupy Wall Street • Protest • U.S.
January 22nd, 2012
04:04 AM ET

Salman Rushdie: Police lied to me about threat to my life

Author Salman Rushdie now believes police lied to him about a threat to his life to keep him away from India's largest literary festival.

"Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie' I've investigated, & believe that I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry," the Mumbai-born author of "The Satanic Verses" said in a post on his verified Twitter account late Saturday.

A verified account is one which Twitter officials have confirmed as belonging to the person who claims to own it.

Rushdie then linked to a story in The Hindu newspaper, which attributed the information to "two highly placed police sources" that it did not name.

In response to a follower who asked the author who in the police force is to blame, Rushdie tweeted, "Don't know who gave orders. And yes I guess the same police who want to arrest Hari, Amitava, Jeet and Ruchir. Disgusting."

Rushdie was referring to Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi - four writers who read excerpts from his banned book to protest his absence at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday.

At least one lawmaker has demanded the arrest of the writers who read from the book.

CNN was not able to reach Rushdie and it was seeking comment from Rajashthan police.

"The Satanic Verses" was released more than a quarter century ago, but it continues to hound the celebrated author.

Rushdie canceled his appearance at the festival after he was informed of objections from hard-line Muslims and a threat of assassination.

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Filed under: Art • India • Literature • World
Gotta Watch: Moving through time
Time-lapse photography shows traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
September 28th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Moving through time

It's an artistic technique that allows you to fast-forward through time and it's absolutely fascinating to watch.  We're talking about time-lapse photography. This simple art of taking images every second over an extended period of time and then replaying the images in normal speed creates a feeling of moving through time.  Today's Gotta Watch features some of our favorite time-lapse videos, inspired by a video we posted Tuesday that shows an incredible view of the Northern Lights in Denmark. In case you missed it, the video is at the end of this post.

Around the earth in 1 minute - Take a trip around planet Earth thanks to time-lapse video of 600 stitched-together photos from NASA's astronaut photo database. It's certainly a view that puts maps to shame.


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Filed under: Arizona • Art • Denmark • Earth • Gotta Watch • NASA • New Jersey • Shuttle • Solar System • Space • U.S. • World
Gotta Watch: Location, location, location
A Florida city busted a dog owner who dyed her pooch's paws pink.
August 15th, 2011
10:42 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Location, location, location

Money Magazine has released its 2011 list of America's 100 best places to live. In today's Gotta Watch, we're checking the map and looking at a few other cities you may - or may not - want to consider.

Buford, Wyoming's party of one - Whether it's about winning debates at town meetings, the length of his commute or how long it would take to meet the entire population, Don Sammons knows all the jokes. And he should. He's the sole resident of Wyoming's oldest town.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

Lynwood, Washington's men in tights -  If safety is at the top of your list, you may want to consider Lynwood, Washington. The city's police force gets a little extra help from a merry band of crime fighters.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

Jacksonville, Florida's pet peeve - If you want a city that supports all forms of creative expression, even when it involves the family pet, you may want to drive on past Jacksonville, Florida. Just ask this woman, who was busted for painting her pooch.

[cnn-video url=""%5D
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Filed under: Animals • Art • Crime • Dogs • Florida • Gotta Watch • U.S. • Uncategorized • Washington state • Wyoming
Artist Ai Weiwei back on Twitter, defiantly attacking China over jailed friends
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei speaks to reporters outside his Beijing studio following his June release from prison.
August 9th, 2011
01:08 PM ET

Artist Ai Weiwei back on Twitter, defiantly attacking China over jailed friends

Ai Weiwei is back, and he's not taking any prisoners.

His Twitter missives, however, which began Monday night after a lengthy hiatus, may land the controversial contemporary artist back in a Chinese prison. In one tweet, he directly accused the government of illegally detaining innocent people who had connections to him.

Ai, who was released from prison in June after a three-month stint on tax evasion charges that some observers alleged were trumped up, had been instructed by the government to keep a low profile and to rein in his social-media activity. He had obliged until this week.

An outspoken critic of China's human rights record, Ai had loudly accused the government of trying to silence dissidents before his April detention. His Twitter account went silent shortly thereafter, and his mother told CNN no one heard from him for 43 days.

When he was released, he seemed subdued, telling a Radio Free Asia reporter outside his Beijing home, "I can't talk about anything."


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Filed under: Art • China • Crime • Human rights • Technology • Twitter • World
Massive bather makes splash in German lake
A massive sculpture of a bathing woman will spend 10 days in a Hamburg, Germany, lake.
August 5th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Massive bather makes splash in German lake

Call it "The Bath of the 70-foot Woman." Or "Two Tons of Mermaid."

The real name of the massive woman in a Hamburg, Germany, lake is actually "Die Badende" ("The Bather"), and she's an ad for British beauty brand Soap & Glory.

"We launched Soap & Glory in Germany last year, and we've been looking for a way to say, 'Thank you!' to everyone for embracing our products, and making us a real success there. At Soap & Glory, we consider it our calling to bring more beauty to the world, and have fun doing it - 'Die Badende' does exactly that," the brand's founder, Marcia Kilgore, said in a news release.

"Die Badende" is the work of art creator Oliver Voss. It's almost 13 feet high, 67 feet long and weighs two tons.

The sculpture is made from a steel cage covered with Styrofoam almost a foot thick, which is then covered by a layer of special filler sealed with a polyester resin.

It will spend 10 days in Hamburg's Inner Alster Lake.

Apparently, "Die Badende" is as modest as "she" is massive. Soap & Glory promises a crane will be standing by with a supersize towel when "Die Badende" is ready to come out of the water.

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Filed under: Advertising • Art • Germany
Artist Lucian Freud dies
Artist Lucien Freud, seen here in 1952, was considered Britain's greatest realist painter of the modern era.
July 21st, 2011
05:44 PM ET

Artist Lucian Freud dies

Artist Lucian Freud, best known for his nude, fleshy portraits that broke auction house records, died at the age of 88, his publicist said Thursday.

The German-born, British painter died of illness in his London home Wednesday night, his dealer, William R. Acquavella, said in a statement.

“My family and I mourn Lucian Freud not only as one of the great painters of the twentieth century but also as a very dear friend.  As the foremost figurative artist of his generation he imbued both portraiture and landscape with profound insight, drama and energy.  In company he was exciting, humble, warm and witty. He lived to paint and painted until the day he died, far removed from the noise of the art world," said Acquavella, owner of Acquavella Galleries in New York.

The grandson of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud, Freud was widely regarded as the greatest British realist painter of his time. He often used friends, family and acquaintances as subjects.

"I paint people... not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be," he said, according to Tate Britain's website.

His 1995 life-size painting - "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" - fetched $33.6 million during bidding at Christie's auction house in New York in 2008, setting a new world record at the time. The previous record was for "Hanging Heart," a painting by Jeff Koons that sold for $23.5 million, said Rik Pike, a spokesman for Christie's.

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Filed under: Art
Suspect arrested in San Francisco Picasso theft
July 7th, 2011
01:49 PM ET

Suspect arrested in San Francisco Picasso theft

Police in San Francisco say they have made an arrest in the theft of a $275,000 Picasso drawing from an art gallery this week.

The suspect was identified as Mark Lugo, 30, of New Jersey. He was arrested in Napa, California, police said in a statement.

Around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, a man entered the Weinstein Gallery, walked straight to the drawing, removed it and walked out, San Francisco police said.

He then entered a cab that appeared to be waiting and drove away.

Police said Lugo was taken into custody at a Napa hotel and the sketch was recovered during a search of the premises where the suspect was arrested.

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Filed under: Art • California • Crime
$200,000 Picasso drawing swiped from San Francisco gallery
The Picasso pencil drawing "Tête de Femme" (Head of a Woman) and the suspect caught on surveillance video walking away on Tuesday.
July 6th, 2011
12:54 PM ET

$200,000 Picasso drawing swiped from San Francisco gallery

A Pablo Picasso drawing worth more than $200,000 was taken from a San Francisco art gallery on Tuesday in a brazen midday theft, according to local media reports.

The pencil drawing, titled "Tête de Femme" (Head of a Woman), was hanging just inside the Weinstein Gallery on Geary Street in San Francisco. A well-dressed man wearing dark glasses entered the gallery, grabbed the 10 5/8-by-8 1/4-inch drawing and fled the gallery into a waiting taxicab, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Police are asking for the public's help in recovering the art.

"We're hoping someone in the public might recognize this piece, if they see someone walking around with it or trying to sell it," police spokesman Albie Esparza told the Chronicle.

The piece will be hard to sell, art historian Sharon Flescher, of the International Foundation for Art Research, told the Chronicle.

"The legitimate collectors won't touch it," the paper quotes Flescher as saying.

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Filed under: Art • California • Crime • San Francisco
China releases dissident artist Ai Weiwei, report says
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been released on bail after being taken into custody in April, according to a state-run Chinese media report.
June 22nd, 2011
10:54 AM ET

China releases dissident artist Ai Weiwei, report says

China has released dissident artist Ai Weiwei on bail, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.

Ai, one of China's most successful and renowned artists, was on his way to Hong Kong in April when he was taken into custody amid a crackdown on dissidents, activists and religious groups across China.

Ai's Beijing studio was raided, and his wife and eight assistants were taken into custody for questioning.

Though Ai is widely regarded as a political prisoner, Beijing police told Xinhua last month — more than a month after taking him into custody - that Ai evaded a "huge amount" of taxes and that his company intentionally destroyed accounting documents.

Most famous for designing the Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he later called for a boycott of the games because he said China was using them as propaganda.

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Filed under: Art • China • Civil Rights • Human rights • World
Kissers explain famous riot photo
June 18th, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Kissers explain famous riot photo

[Update 8:45 a.m. Saturday] Canada's most famous lovebirds have come forward to explain the kiss photo that made them famous.

Australian Scott Jones and his girlfriend, Alexandra Thomas of Vancouver, British Columbia, told the Canadian network CBC that they were not making out in the street during the Vancouver hockey riot as it appeared in the widely circulated photo by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam.

The two were trying to find a way out of the turbulent downtown area when they were overrun by a phalanx of riot police, they said.

"They started charging at us, and we tried to run away, but Alex couldn't," Jones explained.

"I just tripped up," Thomas interjected. "I'm not sure, but I was starting to get really frightened because I'd never experienced anything like that before. And it's really scary, you know? ... I was upset, and he was there to make sure that I got out OK."


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Filed under: Art • Australia • Canada • Crime • Hockey • Protest
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