I had some very odd news this week.
One of my pieces, Cuckoos #3: Unexpected Twist, just finished being displayed in the 3rd Biennial Concordia Continental Ceramics Competition in St. Paul, MN. I’d been stressing about the piece being shipped back, since it’s both large and delicate. When I got a call on Monday from the organizer, I immediately started worrying, only to be utterly surprised. The piece had been stolen.
While the gallery was open for local artists to pick up their work, someone had walked in and left with four piece that did not belong to them. The university didn’t realize the problem until they were preparing to pack up the out-of-town pieces. A vase by Leopold Foulem, a wonderful teapot-ish sculpture by Gerald Ferrari, and a piece by Kevin Snipes were also taken. (Gerald has a very insightful blog post about the theft.) The total listed value for the work was over $12,000, most of that was due to Foulem’s vase. All the same, a life of crime stealing ceramics sculptures is hardly a way to get rich quick. Heck, if there’s a way to get rich in ceramics, there’s lots of ceramics artists who’d love to know about it.
Overall, my response has mostly been confusion. I am a bit worried about my piece, as to whether or not its safe. My biggest fear if that some scofflaws just grabbed it on a whim, and it’s been trashed somewhere. That would break my heart. The university has said that they’ll deal with the insurance, so at least I’m not worrying about that. They could have handled the show taken down better, but no sense in being angry about that – they didn’t want this to happen either. I guess it’s a bit flattering that someone likes the piece so much, but really, it would have been better to for them to just buy it. It’s been so weird seeing pictures of it on the local news, and having my relatives emailing each other about it. Add to all that, it’s not a small piece! It’s large enough it needs to be carried in both arms, and the surface is delicate enough that it could be scratched by snaps or zippers. While I guess do feel strangely honored to be on a list that includes everyone from Miro and Van Gogh to the other 3 artists from this show, I would really rather people just didn’t do stuff like this. It’s so disrespectful to the artists, the work, and the institution that it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it.
Not cool, random thief, not cool.