The following list surveys the 25 greatest art heists of all time. They have concerned artworks from throughout art history, from centuries-old archaeological objects to contemporary masterworks, and they have involved a range of shadowy figures, from amateurs to security experts to possibly even organized crime syndicates. In some cases, the works have been recovered, while other heists have ended with the works being lost permanently.
For the sake of this list, heists were defined as concerning public institutions and private collections. Plundering, looting, and other forms of art theft will be considered in a separate list to follow.
Swollen, glistening, and saturated with illusion, the ubiquitous water drop absorbed Kim Tshchang-Yeul throughout his career. The Korean artist, who died earlier this year, was faithful to the seemingly mundane subject matter, choosing to depict the dewy orbs repeatedly after an initial painting in 1972 following his relocation to France. Inspired originally by a water-soaked canvas in his studio, Kim nurtured the viscous element in his hyperrealistic paintings created across nearly five decades. In an essay about the artist’s unending commitment, Dr. Cleo Roberts writes:
It is a tendency that seems to unite many of Korea’s avant-garde who took from Art Informel in the early ‘60s, including Ha Chong-Hyun and Park Seo-Bo. In this generation of artists, there is a ritualistic devotion to a chosen form, process, and, at times, colour. One could venture that, in the context of living in a volatile country ravaged by war, the security of immersion in a singular mode was an empowering choice, and may have been a necessary psychological counterpoint.
Whether depicting a singular pendant-shaped drop or canvas strewn with perfectly round bulbs, each of the oil-based works exhibits a deft approach to shadow and texture. The bloated forms appear to bead on the surface and are imbued with a sense of impermanence: if disturbed by even a small movement, they look as if they could burst or run down the surface.
We’re ushering in the Year of the Ox later this week, an occasion Felicia Chiao (previously) kicks off with an illustrated homage to the horned bovine. Rendered with gilded details and Chiao’s signature aesthetic, the drawing is the latest in the California-based illustrator’s collection of works marking the Lunar New Year. Each of the five pieces, which she creates with Copic marker and gel pens, relies heavily on red, a traditional sign of luck and prosperity for the upcoming year, along with layers of flowers, tassels, and a fantastic depiction of the animal.
During the course of four years, Maxwel Hohn submerged himself in a remote lake on Vancouver Island to record the otherwise unseen life cycles of western toads. The hours of stunning footage culminate in the award-winning short film, “Tadpoles: The Big Little Migration,” which chronicles the tiny amphibians’ evolution from bulbous swimmers—Hohn notes how the critters look like they’re smiling constantly at this stage—to fully formed toads.
Because the ecosystem is incredibly fragile, the Canadian videographer details his precautions to not disturb the environment, which include passing through lily pad trails made by beavers and floating at the surface to keep the silt covering the lake’s bottom from clouding the water. “To see these aquatic tadpoles evolve into terrestrial animals before my own eyes was humbling and heartwarming,” he says.
As if to compensate for all those months of cancelled exhibitions and closed galleries, the past season offered a notably diverse assortment of shows, albeit with restrictions for safety. Painting dominated, from the explicit and politically charged to cerebral abstraction, and a lot in between. The fall began with the brilliant Black, Texas-based Trenton Doyle Hancock’s “Something American,” at James Cohan’s two Downtown locations, a frighteningly relevant double header pillorying many of our current difficulties through metaphors both fierce and comic. On the Lower East Side, Hancock showed ink on paper drawings from an ongoing graphic novel about the Moundverse, a mythological world that pits evil Vegans, threatening policemen, and other villains against such good guys as Torpedo Boy, the artist’s disarmingly tubby superhero alter ego. We followed the panels of the current chapter, savoring Hancock’s loaded, lucid drawings and wondering what would happen next.
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In “Artemis,” artists Julie Wilkinson and Joyanne Horscroft translate the moody, floral pattern of House of Hackney’s wallpaper into a stunning, three-dimensional bouquet. The sculptural work is a tribute to the designer’s classic motif, which has the same name, and took weeks for the duo to render digitally before crafting with jewel-toned and embellished paper. “We just had to pay very close attention to what we saw as the original mood and intention and draw on expanding that feeling,” Horscroft tells Colossal.
The result is a dramatic interpretation that’s crafted with painstaking detail, including thickly layered petals and woven leaves. “To us, each flower head is its own microcosm, with its own set of rules and expression, yet it’s clear they belong in the same universe. They feel like planets in a solar system or different chocolates in a box—and there’s something really appealing about that! Different… but the same,” Horscroft says
Exploration on face detection and 3D reconstruction using the “Large Pose 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression” code by Aaron S. Jackson, Adrian Bulat, Vasileios Argyriou and Georgios Tzimiropoulos.
We selected 8 Famous Paintings and let the Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) perform a direct regression of a volumetric representation of the 3D facial geometry from a single 2D image.
Although we know Van Gogh so well from his 36 painted self-portraits, depictions of him by other artists are rare. We can now add another—from no less a hand than his friend Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the lover of Montmartre nightlife. This drawing is now in the collection of the Hiroshima Museum of Art.
Over a period of 4 months, I experimented with natural substances like sand, stone powder and historic pigments. Some of these supplies are rare and expensive, for example jade and malachite powder.
What you see in SATELLIKE are very long shots of watery ink in motion on several coats of half dried paint. Drying the paint leads to organic structures which can be brought to life again with water, ink and sour flow release mediums. The results look different from my usual approach, way more realistic and less otherworldly. I was excited about the aesthetics of the images and decided to do an individual piece. Although this is the final result for now, it feels more like I’m at the very beginning.