To Catch A Thief: Why it’s not a good idea to steal from muscled men in leather and chains
In 2007, Tom of Finland Foundation launched a traveling exhibition of over 100 artworks by the prolific artist, with 80+ works from the permanent collection, and around 20 more available for sale. The tour started out at Gallerie Richard in Paris, where Tom’s work was received with great fanfare. Then it was off to The Keith Talent Gallery in London.
One of the stolen works: Tom of Finland 1984 signed and dated rough sketch pencil on paper, 9 x 13”, Tom of Finland Foundation, USA
Soon after the opening, the gallery’s owners, Andrew Robert Clarkin and Simon Pittuck, contacted the Foundation saying they had sold one of Tom’s drawings. They requested a Certificate of Authenticity for the work, which Durk Dehner, the President and cofounder of the Foundation, signed and mailed to the gallery. All seemed in order until the show arrived at Galerie Espacio Minimo, its next destination in Madrid, and eight important works from the Permanent Collection were missing from the shipment.
Once Keith Talent gallery claimed that they had no idea where the missing works were, Dehner and the Foundation began to get concerned. After Keith Talent refused to file a claim with their insurance company (it later became evident that they had not secured insurance for Tom’s work), and after the gallery failed to pay the Foundation for sold work, Dehner enlisted the help of high-priced London lawyers, Scotland Yard, and, most importantly, the Tom of Finland network, which was able to send out an SOS alerting anyone who had recently bought Tom’s work that they may have been sold stolen goods. Eventually one anonymous but cooperative collector came forward with the work he thought he had purchased legally, and was willing to testify against Clarkin and Pittuck. During this time, the London gallery did curiously return five of the missing works to the Foundation, with a short note attached explaining that the work turned up in a room that, since the exhibition (more than a year earlier), had been turned into an artist’s studio.
Soon after, Scotland Yard raided the gallery and arrested the two owners. During the trial in January of this year it became evident that the two had knowingly sold work from the permanent collection, that Pittuck had had forged Certificates of Authenticity for the work, and that they had put money from the sale in a joint bank account. Because the two dealers had no priors and had lost all credibility in their profession, Clarkin’s 10 month, and Pittuck’s 14 month, prison sentences were suspended and they were ordered to each carry out 150 hours of community service, and pay £5,700 to the collector to whom they sold the drawings, as well as over £1,000 in legal fees. As of this writing they have failed to make their full payments on time and are expected to return to court soon. Tom of Finland Foundation has not received any compensation for expenses related to this trial and are considering filing a civil suit against the former gallery owners.
Now available at most art galleries in LA and NY
SAL MINEO’S 72ND BIRTHDAY
january 10th, 2011
you are invited to a special exhibition & book-signing with author
MICHAEL GREGG MICHAUD and his new book-
SAL MINEO: A BIOGRAPHY
(crown archetype: 410 pp., $26.00)
followed by a rare screening of
WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR?
(1965, dir-Joseph Cates)
Sal Mineo, was an American film and theatre actor, best known for his performance opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause.
Who Killed Teddy Bear, is one of sal’s later, (1965) and more obscure/bizarre films.
Sal playa a busboy at a disco who has sexual problems related to events in his childhood. He becomes obsessed with a disc jockey at the club, leading to obscene phone calls, voyeurism, trips to the porn shop and adult movie palace, and more!
The film also stars juliet prowse, and elaine stritch portrays a lesbian.
A MUST SEE!
(self portrait by sal mineo)
We would love to use a few images in an episode of our television show The A-List: New York.
Thanks so much,
A-List: New York
Vid (see end credits for ToFF) & Image added.
Episode 8, Season 1
Watch the Mike Ruiz segment “ToF Transformations Based on TOM Characters”
Ruiz says, “Gay men have defined their aesthetic as a result of Tom of Finland.”
The National Portrait Gallery just removed an important video work, “Fire In My Belly,” by the artist David Wojnarowicz with audio by Diamanda Galas from it’s current exhibition about gay and lesbian identity in the US. Call for the end to this censorship and demand that the video be re-united with the exhibition.
The video may be difficult to watch, but it deals with important issues, unpleasant subjects, and the reality of AIDS for these great artists. Good art often pushes boundaries and makes people uncomfortable, and this video is a perfect example of this fact. Wojnarowicz was an amazing artist who made astounding work with an urgency and a purpose. He inspired an entire generation of gay artists. Diamanda Galas is also an important musician whose work has addressed issues such as gay rights, AIDS, and genocide. To censor these important artists is totally unacceptable.
The Catholic League and right-wing politicians called for his video to be removed, so you can see the ugly specter of the culture wars rearing its head again. The museum’s director, Martin Sullivan caved to their demands. The exhibition was not funded with public dollars and the removal of the video is censorship pure and simple. The National Portrait Gallery should retain its independence and ability to exhibit shows that represent the identities of all Americans, not just the dominant culture, or views only palatable to right-wing conservatives. Please join in expressing your desire to have the video put back in the show by calling your representatives, members of congress, and the director of the museum.
To find your representatives go to:
To find your senator go to:
To call Martin Sullivan, Director of The National Portrait Gallery dial 202 633 8276.
To call Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian dial 202 633 1846
Original NY Times Article: National Portrait Gallery Removes Video Criticized for Religious Imagery