30 January 2007

All About Seuss...


This year, 2007, is the 50th anniversary of Dr Seuss', "The Cat In The Hat" and "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" .

It is also the 70th anniversary of the first Dr Seuss book, "To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street".

In 1937 Dr Seuss released two other books as well. "The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubins" and his first adult book, "The Seven Lady Godivas".

Dr Seuss is not just for kids. His books are a wonderful and insightful look into world we live in that still ring true today.

My personal favorite is "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" from 1973. There are 48 different books authored and illustrated by the great Dr. Not to mention the books he wrote but didn't illustrate, under the names Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone.

Read one today. You'll be glad you did.

27 January 2007

Home...

OMG!
It was an amazing trip. Jamaica is a beautiful, friendly place that we must return to soon.
I have no doubt that we have added five years or more to our lives. It has been some time since I have been at total peace with the world. For ten days, no phone, no internet, no T.V., no stress, no worries...we came home tanned and relaxed.

I can't begin to tell you how much we enjoyed it. For the first time traveling I didn't get crazy taking photos. Under 300 this time. For me that is incredibly few.

Our days were spent soaking in the sun, floating in crystal clear warm water, eating seafood that had been swimming the same day it was caught and cooked. The food was fantastic!

Here a few photos. Most of them that I took were of us. We didn't wear much while there, so I am not going to share those.

This is where we stayed. Idle Awhile, In Negril. It is on the western tip of the island.

This is the restaurant at our place. Only 13 rooms, all wonderful. I strongly recommend them if you ever go to Negril.

I don't know who this girl was, but she said I could take her picture.

The cliffs at Rick's Cafe. Around the corner is a place to jump. We did. It's a long way down.


The view down the beach. This was the high season too. There is no one around. Heavenly.


I never want trips to end. Someday I will figure out how to travel for a living. I want Rick Steves' job. I am pretty sure that Precious and I could do it. Maybe we should start our own show. "The World With Kids" a family show on the road. I like it.

14 January 2007

100!

Wow, can you believe it, this is my 100th post. Not bad for only having 5 semi-regular visitors.
Thanks to the 5 of you. I couldn't have done it with out you.

Well actually I could have, but it's more fun with you. So thanks.

Sorry I got all mushy there. Sometimes I get carried away in the moment. I know this will be hard for you all to hear but I will most likely not be posting for the next 12 days. I know, I know, please don't worry. I will be fine. Basking in the sun working on my full body tan and drinking rum. My life is such a drag sometimes. Work Work Work.

I will be taking two of my cameras, a journal and a pen. I actually will spend some of my time working. If you can call shooting photos of naked women on the beach work.

I will not be taking my laptop, any long pants, a jacket. I will most likely not be checking emails, looking at the internet or answering my phone. I want to forget about the whole world for at least 12 days.

Sadly we will not be taking our son, Mr.Man, with us. He will spend the time with my parents and sister. That part is going to be the hardest. We have never left him with anyone before. This is our first time away from the little guy. I am missing him already.

Ta!

13 January 2007

Thorn In My Side...

Disclaimer: The following is hypothetical and any similarities to actual people, places or companies is purely coincidental.

*****

Art publishers represent artists to make things easier for the artist. The publishers take care of the show schedules, create limited editions, distribution, publicity, marketing, pricing, blah blah blah.
The publisher makes it possible for the artist to be an artist.

The publishers then sell the programs of their artists to galleries. The galleries get to chose from several artists while only having to deal with one sales rep. Artists can be a bit difficult to deal with on a one to one basis.

Publishers can be a great advantage for both galleries and artists. Most are great to work with.

Unfortunately some publishers give the whole art world a bad name. They lie, they cheat and would sell their own mothers for a quick buck.

I guess it's probably no different than other businesses. When money is involved people do crazy things. When art is involved it is easy to take advantage because most people know very little or nothing about it.

Lately several of them have decided that they will no longer take credit cards from galleries who buy their work. They don't want to pay the fees. The galleries really have no choice. If we want the work we have to pay cash. The galleries on the other hand have to take credit cards if we want to sell art.

Cheap and annoying but not dishonest.

I have been about told a couple of publishers that would artificially increase the price of works to make collectors believe that they were investment quality works. This is very dishonest and it's all about the money.

The publisher offers a limited edition work, say 195 pieces, 30 x 40 inches on canvas. With todays technology, it costs about $25 to $40.00 per sheet to print. If they go top quality. Cut a few corners and it's about $5.00 to $10.00 per sheet. They are then pre-released for $1595.00 each. That is not a typo!

After the first 25 are sold the price goes up to $1895.00. The next 25 are $2295.00 and so on.
If the work is good and all 195 sell, the last few are sold for around $7500.00 each or more.

If the edition is not selling well, the publisher only prints 25 to 50 of the 195. They claim that it is selling out or already sold out and jacks the price all the way up. No one knows that all of them were never printed. All of the paper work says they were. The galleries end up pay more as do the collectors.

They only have to sell the first few in order to pay for the entire edition. After years of this a publisher can end up with hundreds of unsold works. Even more if the publisher actually printed all of them. Once the publisher has milked the artist for everything they can, they take all of the unsold works and sell them for pennies on the dollar to places like, Home Shopping Networks. Doing this destroys any value that the works may have had. The good and the bad alike. A collector that paid thousands of dollars for a work now has something that is basically worthless.

It can be disastrous to the artists reputation and career. What's worse is that the artist may not know what is going on until it's too late.

An artist dying is sometimes an opportunity for the publisher to take advantage as well. They have an artist who is selling well, becoming very popular, but still unknown. The prices are honestly going up. The for reasons beyond anyones control the artist dies. The publisher quadruples (or more) the price of everything left. People hear that the artist has died and a feeding frenzy begins. Peoples greed and the thought of making a quick buck fill the air. They buy with the sole thought of investment.

The problem is that the artist had not reached their full potential. Mainly because the publisher was holding them back in the first place, but because the artist was young and still relatively unknown, the works will most likely never hold the new inflated value. The fact that they have now been artificially inflated because of the death will end up hurting the value of all of the works in the long run.

To be fair, galleries and artists can be just as shady. But those are different posts.

12 January 2007

Forcast...

Chadette No 44



For the last week, we have had a high temp of 36 degrees. Three inches of snow. More snow is expected tomorrow.

This week in Negril Jamaica, it has been 85 degrees. Sun, Sun, Sun!

Do I need to mention how much I am looking forward to our trip?

11 January 2007

Making Angels...


At 6am this morning we were woke by the joyous screams of Mr. Man, announcing that it had been snowing over night.

Guys wake up! Wake up! Snow. It Snowed. Christmas Eve, it's Christmas Eve! Guys wake up!

The formality of him referring to his parents as "Guys", tends to make me giggle. Precious on the other hand does not care for it. Or the 6am part of it. I will agree with that.

Had it not been 6am this could have been much funnier than it was. It was really fun to hear the excitement in his voice though. I remember how I used to love waking up to several inches of snow. The world was quiet and everything seemed new. I couldn't wait to go make snow angels, and play until I could no longer feel my limbs.

So that is exactly what we did. I put on our warmest clothes and showed my son how to make a snow angel. We ran and played until we were frozen. We loved every minute of it.


Mr. Man had seen snow before, but this was the first time we had gotten to go play in it.
If I could figure out how to put a movie clip on this site, I have a great one of him making angels. I'll work on that.

*****
Chadette No 43
Blue Velvet


10 January 2007

Repairing Injustice...Part 4

It seems that my posts about Repairing Injustice have caused some ill feeling towards me. I have been called a variety of names this week. Most are in the lines of: Racist, Bigot, Nazi...

To all of you, stop reading my blog. You are clearly closed minded boobs. Had you read all of the posts before branding me, you may have noticed that I was reporting things that have been happening in the art world in regards to WWII era crimes against humanity as well as art. My questions were about whether or not some wrongs could be corrected.

When I talk about what is being done for those who lost property of value, it makes me question what is being done for the families and heirs who did not have wealth. I only hear stories about compensation and restitution being given to the wealthier families. That seemed wrong to me. The fact a family was wealthy does not make their suffering any greater than the families who were poor.

And not that I have to explain myself, because I don't. However, my family suffered and lost lives during WWII. Am I Jewish? No. Does my families loss mean less? No. Loss is loss.
Do I think Germany and their allies owe me compensation? No. They can't undo what was done by paying me.

In the early 19th century (that's the 1800's) several of my ancestors were slaves. Am I black? No. Does that make their suffering or my families suffering any less? No. Does the government of the United states owe me compensation? No. They can't undo what has been done by paying for it.

What can be done? Learn something from history. Remember our mistakes and don't repeat them.

Oh, and stop being so freakin greedy!

09 January 2007

Last and First...

Chadette No. 41
The last painting of 2006



The first painting of 2007
Chadette No 42


Wow, these photos really blow.

06 January 2007

Repairing Injustice...Part 3

Hungary has made it look as though they are trying to make restitution for works taken during WWII. Their efforts have thus far been lip service at best. In 1991 Hungary adopted a compensation law for property losses between 1944 and 1989. The sums were not generous. The average voucher issued for a man's wedding ring was the equivalent of $1.25, and the law was not designed to cover cultural property because of the complications connected to the valuation of artworks.

Hungary is also making claims on cultural property and demanding that work be returned to them, even though they had joined the Germans in the war.

So far they have been slow with information, restitution and have appealed several of the courts rulings against them.

The Netherlands, since 2002 has returned more than 500 artworks to original owners or their heirs. They have changed their laws in order to re-open some cases that had been settled years earlier. They seem to be going out of their way trying to make things right.

France has all but said that the restitution for looted property is not a priority. Of the 60,000 objects returned to France after the war, 45,00 were returned to Jewish dealers and collectors. More than 10,000 objects deemed unimportant by the government were auctioned. The remaining property was marked MNR, Musees Nationaux Recuperation, and distributed among the five national museums.
Anyone with a claim was for the most part on their own.
France appears to be unwilling to dredge up the past preferring to leave things where they are move on.

The United Kingdom has committed itself to resolving claims for artworks looted during the Nazi era that are now in public collections. The claims have been so few that in most of the cases, instead of returning the art they are giving compensation to the heirs and leaving the art on display.

All countries seem to be undecided about putting deadlines on claims or how to handle them.

*****

How do you change history? Can you?
What good comes from making restitution or compensation to people who were not directly involved in the first place? Does that really change things? Does it make anything better?

For the suffering and deaths of people 65 years ago. We will pay your grand children. What does that fix?

It doesn't stop there.

Our government has talked about giving compensation to the descendants of slaves. Are they entitled to money because someone in their family tree was enslaved? Would it make anything better? Would it change history? Where do you draw the line once you start trying to re-write what has been done? When do payments stop for things already done? 50 Years? 100? 200?

If you look at history like this. There are far more victims than not. When do we learn from our mistakes instead of trying to buy our way out?

What is the right thing to do?

05 January 2007

Repairing Injustice...Part 2

Last November the Austrian minister of culture, Elisabeth Gehrer, said that Austria would return Edvard Munch's "Summer Night on the Beach" (ca. 1902) to the heirs of Alma Mahler-Werfel, ending a restitution battle that has lasted six decades.
Gehrer reversed a decision taken seven years earlier. In 1999, while publicly conceding the strength of the claim on "historical moral grounds," the minister's advisory council on restitution issues threw out the case on a technicality, arguing that the matter had already been settled by an Austrian court in the 1950's.
Gehrer's recent decision comes in response to petitions by Gert-Jan van den Bergh, the Dutch lawyer acting for the Mahler heirs, who argued that Austria's General Settlement Fund Law, enacted in 2001, allows for the resolution of cases of "extreme injustice" without prejudice by previous rulings.
"Summers Night on the Beach" was given to Alma Mahler-Werfel in 1916 by her husband, Walter Gropius, on the occasion of the birth of their daughter, Manon. She left it behind in Vienna when she fled the Nazis in 1938. In 1940, without her knowledge, her stepfather, the painter Carl Moll, sold the painting at a fraction of its worth to the Austrian Gallery Belvedere, where it has hung ever since.
Commenting on the restitution, Marina Mahler, granddaughter of Alma said: "The decision is an important step toward the restoration of the special bond between my family and Austria. It pays tribute to the memory of my grandmother Alma, who with great sadness and a deep sense of betrayal fought to her deathbed for the return of the painting."
--Sophie Lillie, ARTnews January 2007


04 January 2007

Repairing Injustice...Or...Turns Out That Was Worth A Fortune And I Want It Back...Part 1

For years now, Italy has been searching museums and private collections around the world for what they call "Looted work". Most notably, the J. Paul Getty museum in Los Angeles.

Italy has claimed 46 of the works in the Getty collection. The Getty has agreed to return 26 of the works. 25 from the list and one other they thought should have been on the list but wasn't.
Italy still wants more.

The work that has brought the negotiations to a halt is a sculpture that dates from 300-100B.C. and is on display at the Getty Villa in Malibu. The work, discovered in 1964 off the Adriatic coast near the Italian city of Fano, resurfaced in 1971 and was purchased by the Getty in 1977 for $3.95 million.

Italy is claiming now that the work was illegally exported. However, the work was found in international waters and the Getty obtained it only after an Italian court ruled that there was no evidence that it belonged to Italy.

I can understand that countries want to keep their cultural heritage. I can understand them wanting works back that were stolen and or smuggled out of their respective countries.

Where do you draw the line? Is there no Statute of Limitations for things like this? I will look it up, but I bet that there is.

Italy seems to be making the biggest fuss about it internationally. I have read many articles about it and none have really explained why.

I can see this getting out of control fast. If you have ever been to the Louvre in Paris, it doesn't take long to realize that almost everything they have was a prize of war. Napoleon alone took thousands of works in the name of France for that collection. Should they start giving them back?

What about all of the treasure that have come from Egypt's Valley of the Kings? How do you draw the line between archeology and grave robbing?

Jewish families are claiming works, taken by the Germans during WWII. Many of them are getting the works back, with little or no regard for those who own them now. It was a tragic, horrific event, but should someone 65 years removed be entitled to these works?

I'm torn on the subject. I can see both sides and honestly, I think no matter what happens, someone will feel that they where screwed. For many of the works it is clear that they were obtained under shady circumstances. Those should be returned no questions asked. For others it's not so clear. That's where things get interesting.

Personally I think a lot of it comes down to basic greed. In cases like these, the works are worth several tens of millions of dollars. What is really being done in the name of justice?

I can't wait to follow these stories as they progress. I have yet to hear an argument that would make me lean one way or the other.

What do you think?

02 January 2007

Inventory...

A New Year means it is time to reflect. Look back at what happened. What you did that's worth doing again. Things you never need to do again.

It is a time to organize. Much like the famed "Spring Cleaning". Which I happen to prefer because of the seasonal thing. This time it's more for the IRS which is a huge pain in the back side among other places.

Inventory in the gallery has to be done. Make sure we have everything we should. Figure out what we need and what we don't. Inventory has to be done in the studio as well. Time to figure out what was there at the beginning of last year. What was created last year. The studio doesn't really need to have this done. I'm a neat freak. It's for me.

I'm not sure how it happened, but I seem to get more chaotic every year. Some where along I lost control. In addition to being a neat freak, I am also a bit of a pack rat. Not a good combo.

This year I am going to make a huge effort to rid my life of things I no longer need or remember. Art included. I will be giving away a large group of works that were not right for the gallery. I will post them here. If you want them, it's first email, first choice.(wait for the photos to post first)

More time will be spent on the family and our lives. I have little need for popular culture and things that go with it. To start things off right we will be going to Jamaica the last two weeks of January. I need to work on my tan. It is important for us to travel. Learn new things. Meet new people. Take more photos.

2006 was filled with change. Most of it was very good to us. We've been blessed. Now we are looking forward to more adventures. There is still an endless amount of things to see and do. E-Ticket baby!

Good luck to all of you this coming year. May you get everything that you deserve.