The suspect in a $500,000 art heist pleaded guilty on Tuesday — but the stolen pieces have not been recovered.
Around 60 pieces were stolen from the Gerry Thomas Art Gallery during the May 2018 heist that involved various suspects.
Police say the crew cut their way into the gallery with a reciprocating saw and spent the next seven hours lifting art from the location.
“It was like some kind of Ocean’s 11 heist,” said Michell Kruger, then-manager of the gallery.
“I was one of the first people there, after the police, and you could see the scrape marks where they had been wrapping the paintings and moving them.”
Shawn Graham Briscoe, 39, was charged on Dec. 23, 2019 with one count of break and enter with intent.
Briscoe is back in court on July 20 to set a sentencing date.
Police said additional suspects have not been identified.
‘Altered the course of my life’
Artist Ted Knudtson had his sculpture taken in the heist.
He was at the beginning of his art career, and his plan was to sell the sculpture for $5,000 and set up a studio that would allow him to continue working in the industry.
“[The heist] altered the course of my life because afterwards, I got away from the art world and had to go back to work in graphic design,” Knudtson said.
The sculpture had opened doors for Knudtson. It took more than 400 hours to make, but it was featured in two international art magazines.
“That piece was created after a period of significant loss in my life,” Knudtson said. “And it became a symbol of my rebirth at the time. I thought my rebirth would involve an art career.”
Knudtson’s piece was insured by the gallery, but he has not received a payout from the gallery or the insurance company.
He hopes to be reunited with his piece soon.
As for Briscoe’s sentencing, Knudtson said he believes a lighter sentence should be given only if the accused makes an “honest and sincere attempt to make things right for the people affected.”
‘It’s just like somebody stole your child’
Kruger lost 11 pieces in the art heist. She also lost some of her father’s art that was also on display.
Her father is a renowned artist who can’t paint anymore, as he’s gone blind.
“Besides the huge loss of losing a whole show, just the thought of him losing what can’t be replaced,” she said.
“It’s hard to explain. It’s like somebody stole your child.”
Kruger hopes her art hasn’t been destroyed.
“I hope someone is out there enjoying it, as weird as it sounds,” she said. “Because the thought of that being destroyed is heartbreaking.”
Kruger’s pieces were also insured through the gallery.
“The whole getting paid for it from insurance is very difficult,” she said. “It’s a very long process … and you pretty much know you’re not going to get what you would get if you were having a show.”
The heist hasn’t deterred Kruger from making art or putting it on display.
“Your audience, the people who are going to purchase it or interact with the pieces themselves, it’s just an experience that makes it all worthwhile,” she said.
Calgary police ask anyone with information about the whereabouts of the stolen art to contact police by calling 403-266-1234, or by contacting Crime Stoppers.
White House on defensive over Hunter Biden art sales – FRANCE 24
Issued on: 24/07/2021 – 01:08
The White House assured Friday that necessary ethical precautions would be taken around any exhibitions and sale of artwork by President Joe Biden’s son, whose personal life and professional career have been peppered with controversy.
Asked by reporters about upcoming exhibitions of Hunter Biden’s artwork in New York’s Georges Berges Gallery, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s son would be “attending gallery events.”
The discussions about sales “will be happening with the gallerist” and not Hunter Biden, she said.
“That is different than meeting with prospective buyers.”
Psaki had announced July 9 that a system had been established allowing Hunter Biden to practice his profession “within appropriate safeguards,” including the confidentiality of any transactions and no contact with buyers.
At exhibits of Hunter’s work, “the selling of his art will all happen through the gallerist and the names and individuals will be kept confidential,” she said.
When pressed that a buyer could simply tell the artist that he or she is purchasing his work, Psaki stressed that a strict rules structure will be in place.
“He will not know, we will not know who purchases his art,” she said.
Contacted by AFP, the gallery did not immediately provide any comment or details.
The Biden administration, which seeks to present itself as ethically unblemished, has been repeatedly questioned about the artistic career of the 51-year-old lawyer and businessman-turned-painter.
US media point out the obvious risks of businessmen or others purchasing the artwork with the sole aim of winning access to or influence with the White House.
Press reports have said the paintings by Biden, who has had no formal training, could sell for up to half a million dollars.
Hunter Biden is one of former president Donald Trump’s favorite targets.
During the 2020 presidential campaign Trump and his supporters regularly criticized Hunter Biden for his economic interests in Ukraine and China when his father was vice president under Barack Obama.
Hunter is also the target of a federal investigation into possible tax crimes.
In a memoir published earlier this year, the president’s youngest son recounted his struggle with addiction to cocaine and alcohol.
© 2021 AFP
Art exhibits return to Callander’s Alex Dufresne gallery – BayToday.ca
After a long hiatus, art shows are returning to the Alex Dufresne Gallery at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum this Saturday.
The works of Carole Davidson and Sara Carlin-Ball are highlighted in an exhibit entitled “Journeys to a Conversation with Nature.”
In a release promoting the show, Davidson and Carlin-Ball explain the “works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.”
Their goal in selecting the pieces for the exhibit is to capture “the luscious spectacular that is Nature, Muse, Essence,” and emphasize how these “inspire the audience to revision their place – their gratitude and responsibility – on this Earth.”
“It feels absolutely wonderful to have art back on the walls,” said Natasha Wiatr, the gallery’s curator.
The last show was this past April but did not last long before Covid regulations closed the event. Since then, “the walls have been empty.”
“We haven’t consistently had shows in what feels like so long,” she said, and is pleased to launch what will hopefully be a long stretch of exhibits.
Currently, the gallery is booked until 2023, “and we’ve added two more shows per year,” Wiatr explained.
“We see ourselves as a community-based gallery,” she said, and as such, strive to present as many local artists as possible.
The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The gallery can hold 14 people at once, and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can also be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery.
Staff remind to you please wear a mask when you visit and maintain social distance.
Admission to the museum is $5 for seniors and students, $4.50 for kids 6-12, free for children under 6 and adults pay $5.50. Family rate for 4 is $15. Entrance to the gallery is by donation.
Callander museum reopens with art show – The North Bay Nugget
The art show Journeys to a Conversation with Nature will reopen the Callander Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery Saturday.
The works of Carole Davidson and Sarah Carlin-Ball will remain on display to Aug. 20.
“There is an essential longing for life that erupts in a luscious spectacular that we call Nature,” the artists said in a statement.
“The human animal is a part of this longing for life that some might call a Muse – a Muse for artists of every passion and discipline. Artists are at the mercy of their muse and transcribe whatever is whispered to them about life, people, and the compelling natural environment they belong to.
“One may be a studied artist haphazardly trained while another may be an experimental soul, interpreting the ever-changing environment around her.”
Influenced by the gifts of their lives and the natural offerings around them, each artist interprets what touches her soul. Each piece of art tells a portion of her journey, calling to the viewer to look more closely at what life has to teach us.
Carlin-Ball’s muse slumbered as she was raising her children and working. As soon as she could make time, there was an explosion of experimentation driven by her mantra ‘What would happen if…?’
Mistakes happily romped with successes. Now, her careful, unique presentations interpret life and nature, and challenge one’s imagination.
As she learned of the melting of the muskeg and the possibility that Canada will soon lose that habitat and vibrant spring bloom, Carlin-Bell felt the compulsion to replicate that vital image with unexpected media: patinated and fired copper was punched and threaded through with fibre knotted to create the blooms and surface stems.
Eventually, the vibrant muskeg spring emerged.
For Davidson, nature was a refuge she quietly celebrated with natural and cultivated talent for art and writing. A busy and brief career in graphic design took over until disabling MS symptoms forced (or allowed) her to slow down.
She began a meditation practice to cope with symptoms and immediately began painting again.
Her creative work parallels her spiritual path and the subjects of her study get smaller and smaller as she has the opportunity to stop and notice. She finds joy in a yellow spider on a sunflower or a nest full of baby robins.
Together, their works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.
The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery and the museum and gallery also welcome same-day walk-ins.
Those visiting are asked to wear a mask and social distance.
The museum and art gallery are located at 107 Lansdowne St. E., Callander.
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