west village art news


March 03, 2014


HaringA major battle has begun in the art world! On February 21st, a group of 9 outraged art collectors took the The Haring Foundation, the organization in charge of maintaining and preserving the works and legacy of famed artist Keith Haring, to court. The alleged crime?. The organization is being sued on the grounds that it falsely labeled as many as 80 authentic Haring pieces 'counterfeit' or 'fake' in order to increase the value of it's own assets.
But the defendant claims that the pieces are, in fact, 'fake'. Who is telling the truth?
Known for bright colors and bold lines, Haring's works reflected 1980s street culture and graffiti style.
An SVA graduate, the artist gained worldwide popularity with his universally recognizable symbols
and pieces, which often featured heavy political and social messages. There is no doubt that
Haring's iconic imagery is now one of the most widely recognized styles on the planet today.
A note to all prospective collectors: be prepared to spend anywhere between $500,000 and $1
million for an original Haring acrylic on canvas!
This was the average range of pieces being sold at "Haring Miami", a Florida exhibit and sale
hosted by a group of private collectors in March of 2013. With 80 pieces or so, the show could have
easily taken in over $50 million dollars. But after only two days on display, the collectors were notified
of a lawsuit being placed against them for copyright infringement, stating that the pieces in the show
were fakes. The group had no choice but to close the show, which was closely followed
by the filing of a counter-suit.
Official documentation shows that this battle started years before the Haring Miami show, circa 2007.
The documents, presented in U.S. Federal District Court in Manhattan, states that in 2007 the
collectors contacted the Haring Foundation's authentication committee regarding a large number of
pieces. Letters of authenticity and detailed photographs of dozens of works were sent to the committee
for validation, only to have all pieces rejected as 'not authentic' with no explanation. When pressed
for further information, the committee reportedly failed to provide any evidence that proved the pieces'
falsehood. This isn't the only case of shady conduct when it comes to The Haring Foundation; other
collectors have come forward with authenticity issues resulting in the same outcomes- denial without
explanation, refusal to consider evidence, and unprofessional contact afterwards. It is also a known
fact that the authentication committee disbanded in 2012, as it has been said by many sources, to
avoid litigation.
Well, that was convenient, wasn't it?
The collectors are suing for a hefty $40 million in sales losses resulting from the Miami scandal.
T his case is going to be a pivotal one for the art world. The ruling here has great potential to extend
beyond the Haring Foundation and affect the entire world of art. You can be sure this case is going
to be in the spotlight until the very end!



April 28, 2011
New 'spacey' way to sell a book
By Kiran Khalid, CNN
...a time when the publishing world is floundering, bookstores are folding and eBooks are flourishing.
So the writer who spent three months embedded with NASA's mission control with unprecedented access to the Phoenix Expedition in 2008 decided his next venture would be more ambitious. He launched a bookstore in New York's trendy West Village and stocked it with just one book, his own.
"Reactions vary so wildly," said Kessler at his shop. "A lot of people are scared to come in. Some people wonder if we're Scientologists."
The store, Ed's Martian Book, is divided into sections including "staff favorite," "best -seller," and
"self help."
Kessler gets all sorts of questions, but the only one that seems to rattle him is: "What's your overhead?"
"I don't ask you your rent," he objected before explaining, "Part of the fun is people guessing how
you can afford to sell books."
Kessler refers to himself as a "monobookist." The store, which opened April 12 with 3,000 books,
is in an affluent part of a high-rent neighborhood populated by celebrities such as Sarah Jessica
Parker, Liv Tyler and Julianne Moore. Rent's not cheap.
Kessler says he worked out a deal with his landlord, who was interested in supporting the arts.
Then he dug into his savings to purchase the inventory and recruited friends to help him transform
the space with alien art on the walls and dioramas depicting the scientists and engineers he came to
worship during his summer at mission control.
"It's so unique," raved actor Robert Rubinsky. "I want to bring my PR person here. It's such brilliant
But not everyone is a fan. Some people are confused by the concept and others reject the idea of a
"monobookist bookstore". But Kessler said he isn't looking to make a profit as much as a statement
about the value of books.
"I have to get people excited about space through a medium that it's difficult to get people excited
about. It's doubly challenging," Kessler said.
But that challenge is dwarfed by NASA's Herculean task of using the first manmade probe to dig up
dirt on Mars. In his book, Kessler called his unfettered access to that mission "winning the nerd lottery."
As the first outsider granted such permission, the author had a front-row seat to space history while
he watched NASA's top scientists and engineers overcome the hurdles of maneuvering a robot in
outer space and discover ice on Mars.

Now as NASA prepares for its last shuttle launch, he hopes he can deliver on his promise to get
people interested in space exploration again.















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Westbeth Artists Housing has been home to a number of influential artists including Diane Arbus, Moses Gunn, Gil Evans, Muriel Rukeyser, Paul Benjamin, Vin Diesel, Karen Santry, David Greenspan, Tobias Schneebaum, David Del Tredici, Billy Harper, Joseph Chaikin, Hans Haacke, Bobby Harden, Hal Miller, Spencer Holst, Barton Lidice Benes, Robert De Niro, Sr., Ed Sanders, Ralph Lee, Karl Bissinger, John Dobbs, William Kennon, Herman Rose, Gayle Kirschenbaum, Robert Beauchamp, Barbara Rosenthal, Harry Shunk, and Anne Tabachnick, Anita Kushner.



This is the second oldest Historic District in New York City where Jimi Hendrix built the Electric Lady Sound Studios; Where Barbra Streisand debuted at the Bon Soir; Where Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded the original Whitney Museum and Where Andy Warhol and Lou Reed created the citadel of Hippiedom at the Electric Circus on St. Marks Place.