Sunday, March 30, 2008

First Post

Well I have finally succumbed to Blogging and here is my first (undoubtedly lousy) post.
I must say I feel like a hypocrite after all my comments about the world being overblogged (hey it's overpopulated too, I may as well work on adding to one of them), so I hope my posts will be better than the usual drivel that is out there!

Also, stay tuned for a name change, it was the best I could do without spending all afternoon working out something cool.

I want to use this really as a record or diary (something I have never really been good as) for reviews of cultural things I have experienced, eg movies, theatre, music, books, art and so forth.
So, it is mainly for me (and my bad memory) and maybe others will enjoy and join me in some healthy discussion and debate.

Given I have been on Long Service Leave for a month I have a LOT to contribute and I am unsure of where to start.

Stealing the Scream by Edward Dolnick
This was an intriguing read and would appeal to those interested in art (definately me) and those interested in crime (not so much me). It follows the theft of Munch's Scream from a Norweigan Art Gallery in 1994 and the trail to recover the famous painting. The book is also peppered with facts and short asides on other stolen art works throughout history and some of the colourful characters associated with these crimes - from gallery owners/worked, thieves, the artists themselves and the detectives trying to solve the mysteries.

I was most surprised by the amount of work not recovered and still 'out there' hidden somewhere. The book details art actually stolen from galleries as opposed to those 'lost' during war - that appears to be a whole other story (or two). I was also astonished when some of the larger galleries security is detailed...or rather, lack thereof. These galleries have hundreds of millions of artwork displayed and stored and very limited security.

The Scream is a famous painting and a favourite of mine - a copy hangs in my study and I have the blow-up doll in my kitchen. I have been lucky enough to visit an extensive Munch exhibit when I was in Melbourne a few years ago. Munch was a painter of dark subject matter and as much as I love The Scream I really fell under the spell of some of his other works.

The painting hangs at the National Gallery in Oslo and was stolen very simply during the winter Olympics by a broken window and a ladder!!! The timeline and lengths made to retrieve this painting are absolutely compelling, the book reaches a great climax in teh final chapters with an intense back and forth between some very shady characters and detectives under cover.
Although this is a true story, it keeps you turning the pages like a thriller sp you are never bored. It is also full of intersting art detail and will leave you wanting more on this genre - art crime!