News 10-11

Daily News :: 11.11.08–11.12.08

In art, antiques, and collectibles headlines: A legal dispute over the work of outsider artist Martin Ramirez, Damien Hirst’s unlikely new subject, another lackluster sale at Sotheby’s and a Canadian raising money to purchase his father’s WWII medals. Also: Ireland’s most famous cathedral sells its clock, and the Little Mermaid finds herself in the middle of controversy.

From The Guardian (UK):
Family fight to win back art of ‘insane’ genius

A dispute over the legal ownership of works by late artist Martin Ramirez has emerged as his works continue to be popular with collectors and attract high bidders at auction well after his death in 1963. Long ignored by the powers-that-be in the art world, Ramirez is now perhaps the best-known “outsider” artist. He suffered from metal illness for most of his life and created art while in mental hospitals. Ramirez gave away the majority of his paintings while a patient. The artist’s family halted a sale of his work at Sotheby’s recently and still contends that because of his mental illness, Ramirez was not legally competent to give away his art—thus, his collection belongs to them.

From The Guardian (UK):
Sienna Miller smokes, cries and smears herself in blood in Hirst’s macabre video

Sienna Miller has little in common with diamond-encrusted skulls and embalmed sharks, but she’s the latest to take direction from artist Damien Hirst. The British actress appears in a music video for a band called the Hours, and Hirst, a friend of the band, served as art director. The Guardian has a clip of the video, which includes Miller smearing herself with cow’s blood. Yummy.

From The New York Times:
A Dreary Night for Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s contemporary art sale on Tuesday night was evidence once again that the art market is on the wane. In a sale packed with works from blue-chip artists like Jeff Koons, Ray Lichtenstein, Damien Hirst, Cy Twombley, Yves Klein, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg and Donald Judd¬, almost a third of the lots went unsold. Most that did sell ended up going for well below estimates, the lone exception being a 1999 John Currin painting that sold for a record $5.4 million (est. $3.5–$4.5 million).

From CTV (Canada):
Son hopes to buy father’s naval medals at auction

The son of a Canadian World War II hero is asking his fellow countrymen to chip in to help bring back his father’s war medals to Canada. John Simmons has set up a Web site for people to donate to a fund to buy the collection of medals when they go up for auction Nov. 18 in England. His father, Ted Simmons, was a heavily decorated war hero who was the subject of the film “Corvette K-225,” starring Randolph Scott. Ted Simmons moved to England, and upon his death in 1988, the collection was left to John’s half-sister, who is now putting the medals—worth about $40,000 Canadian—up for auction. John believes the collection should return to his father’s homeland as they are a piece of Canadian history.

From Kuntsford Guardian (UK):
Irish cathedrals’ antique clock comes to Plumley

A clock created for two cathedrals in Dublin, Ireland, is now in Plumley, England. Thought to be more than 100 years old, the 6-foot tall clock was originally made in the United States and made its home at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, churches that share clergy quarters in Dublin. Coppelia Antiques bought the clock, which the company says is such a remarkable piece that it could probably sell for “tens of thousands of pounds.”

From The Art Newspaper:
Row over Little Mermaid move

Danes are generally thought to be laid-back people—that is, until you try to move one of their beloved national landmarks. The Little Mermaid sculpture, based on a Hans Christian Andersen’s story, is slated to be the main attraction at the Danish Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Conservative politicians, along with heirs of the sculptor, are not in favor of the temporary move. The Little Mermaid is one of Copenhagen’s most popular tourist attractions, as well as a national symbol.