search for something...

search for something you might like...

300 Words From London: Top Tips For Art Thieves

300 Words From London: Top Tips For Art Thieves

by Lake, Editor, London
first published: March, 2005
my best opportunity for an art heist was at Matisse's house in Nice

Tomoko Takahashi has filled the Serpentine Gallery with all manner of rubbish. Broken toys, scouring pads, board games, speak-and-spell machines, children's chairs... And I mean really filled it. Its piled high in there. There is so much stuff, so intricately arranged, that the assistants hand out little toy telescopes so that visitors can see it all up close.

It looks like chaos but of course its all about order.

To test this theory I'm thinking about going back and sending a few of my own little plastic soldiers on a mission behind the art frontline. I think Takahashi would spot them right off. I think that she knows every one of the 7600 pieces and exactly where it belongs. My plastic interlopers would be swiftly ejected into the Kensington grass.

Some think about giving while more take away. I just read that Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty has been the object of much light-fingered appreciation since it resurfaced from the waters of drought hit Great Salt Lake. A lot of folk have a little piece of appropriated land art on their mantelpiece right now.

When I used to write for a glossier magazine than this I had the invite to the preview of the Jackson Pollock retrospective at the Tate. One weekday afternoon and I'm in the gallery with about a dozen other "critics" being lead around and droned at by some well-meaning guide. Next thing I know they have all wandered off and I'm left entirely on my own. I am inches from one of these huge paintings. I can touch it. I see a little lump of paint sticking out. A little spot. I could reach out and pick it off and have my own tiny pocket Pollock. Of course I don't.

But my best opportunity for an art heist was at Matisse's house in Nice. In the park right next door they were sound-checking an outdoor stage for the Nice jazz festival and every time they played the bass the walls would shake and the motion sensors would set off the alarms in the galleries. The security guards were running from one room to the next as alarms went off all over. It would have been easy to slip one of the smaller paintings out of its frame. Now there's a pitch for Thomas Crown II.

Lake
Editor, London

Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.


about Lake »»

my best opportunity for an art heist was at Matisse's house in Nice

OUTSIDELEFT week in music

view on youtube

RECENT STORIES

RANDOM READS

All About and Contributors

HELP OUTSIDELEFT

Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]

WRITE FOR OUTSIDELEFT

If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]

outsideleft content is not for everyone