I’m a simple man of simple pleasures. You put a news story in front of me with the words “art heist” in it and I will glue myself to it like a year two collage. If it’s happened within a single public transport fare of where I live, all the better. So a brazen art heist, in broad daylight, happening at an open for inspection in West Brunswick? Buddy, I am all in on it. I am buying as much stock as I possibly can. Put that shit on a shirt and a hat and I will parade it around like I’m the last pick in the draft.
Per reports in The Age this morning, artists have staged a fairly cunning and rather brazen heist at a home in the inner-Melbourne suburb of West Brunswick, wherein they took back their own art that had previously been unreturned by an allegedly less-than-savoury art dealer.
The entire saga reportedly began with a piece that ran in The Age this past Saturday, detailing allegations against art dealer and gallery owner Timothy Koenig, who is the subject of a string of allegations from painters and artists regarding missed payments and misplaced or unreturned artworks.
That piece detailed how a premises in West Brunswick, set to go under the hammer soon, sported some of the reportedly missing artwork on its walls. That property is said to be the last publicly known address and residence of Koenig, and is owned by his wife.
After being shown images of the artworks hung in the house by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne artist Elyss McCleary and a friend of Perth artist Benjamin Barretto reportedly attended an open for inspection for the property where they simply took their art down off the walls and walked out the door.
In McCleary’s case, the two paintings she is said to have reclaimed have not been seen by her for around two years. The two paintings are part of a group of five missing works that McCleary has previously made statements to Victoria Police about.
Barretto, reportedly, painted his “reclaimed” work five years ago as part of a group of 10 works produced for a show in collaboration with Koenig. Koenig reportedly never paid Barretto for the work and the whereabouts of the other nine remains unknown.
Liam Carrington, the real estate agent charged with the apparently unusual task of accidentally witnessing the heist, told The Age “We deal with a lot of people’s sensitive topics as to why they are selling. We see a lot of things, we hear a lot of things, we deal with a lot of personalities. But this is definitely the first instance of art walking out the front door.”
Honestly, hook this to my veins. Pump as much of it as you can straight into me. Give me a film adaptation starring Gary Sweet immediately.