Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's a Steal!

Mark, from the Stot Forum, put me onto this story from the Stranger:
Sometime last summer, art started disappearing from galleries and houses around Seattle...

...Like most galleries that have pieces stolen, CoCA didn't speak publicly about the thefts--until one of the artists complained. In fact, of all the artists and galleries whose works were taken, Lehl--a relatively prominent local artist who does paintings in a style described by former Stranger arts editor Emily Hall as a "curious brand" of "dark, ambiguous" surrealism--was the only one who made the theft public. Everyone else whose work was stolen either wrote the works off as lost or dealt with them privately, within the confines of Seattle's tight-lipped art community.

As it turns out, the thefts were the work of a covert art group calling themselves "Fillistine". The works were stolen from various galleries last year in the collection of works for their Repo Show. The problem, it seems, was in securing a venue. No one wants to be implicated.

The choice of works for the Repo Show was based on a loose set of criteria:
"The idea was to take the worst crap we could find and give it value," he says, although he acknowledges that a lot of the thefts were basically hooliganism. Another member of the group, a young hipster with shaggy bangs, says the group "wanted to do a Robin Hood thing, taking their art and adding value," then giving it back. "I want people to get pissed off that we didn't steal anything of theirs," he says. "The coolest thing Rich Lehl's ever done is get robbed."

And, as a priceless final quote in the Seattle P-I:
"Art is not theft," said Ragan Peck, owner of the Priceless Works Gallery.

Someone out there with a space. Let the Repo Show go on!

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