Keith Girard

Jeff Koons Whitney Exhibit Graffiti Vandal Caught on Video (watch!)

The Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan was hit by a graffiti vandal last night, who was caught on video spray-painting a wall in front of dozens of startled patrons. Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, was arrested at the museum after he was accosted by security guards and turned over to police, according to reports. Fortunately, the focus of the exhibit, Koons’ “Hanging Heart” sculpture, and other works were not harmed,...

Heirs to Looted Nazi Art Sue Swiss Bank Over ‘Sham’ Family Trust

Ludwig and Margret Kainer were avid art collectors in Germany until the rise of the Nazi regime in the 1930s. They were also Jews and fled for their lives after Hitler came to power. The vast art collection, however, stayed behind. Their case highlights the extreme difficultly Holocaust survivors have encountered trying to recover assets seized from Jews by the German government during World War II....

Joan Rivers, Prolific Author in Life, Sees Her Book Sales Soar in Death

Joan Rivers prided herself on being an writer and had a prolific career as a writer mostly of self-help books and works based on her life. But what a life. Although her books were popular while she was alive, sales are soaring in death, according to reports. She penned 12 books in her long career starting with “Having a Baby Can be a Scream” in 1974. Her most recent, “Diary of a Mad Diva,” is currently No. 2 on Amazon’s bestsellers’ list....

Francis Bacon’s Dyer Triptych Shatters Auction Record in London

Francis Bacon painted his lover George Dyer with great passion, which may help explain the extraordinary price of a small format Bacon triptych of Dyer that just sold in London for $45 million. The sale was not only an affirmation of Bacon, but also of contemporary art, which continues to set records at auction in London and New York City. Sotheby’s auction grossed $159.3 million in total sales, according to the auction house. ...

John Lennon’s Doodles, Cartoons, Poems Heading for Auction in NYC

John Lennon best known as a world-class musician with The Beatles. was also a world-class doodler and writer. Now some of his non-musical works, including nonsense poems, doodles and comic drawings, are heading for auction in New York City. Lennon produced the material during the 1960s at the height of the band’s fame, when “Beatlemania” was sweeping the world. Publisher Tom Maschler saw Lennon’s drawings and writings in 1962 and convinced him to write and illustrate a book....

Katy Perry, Celebrities Burnish LA’s Contemporary Art Museum Gala

Katy Perry and Glee’s Dianna Agron were among celebrities who attended the Museum of Contemporary Art’s 35th Anniversary Gala in Los Angeles, burnishing the troubled museum’s reputation and bottom line. The event, sponsored by fashion brand Louis Vuitton, also honored Philippe Vergne, the museum’s new director. Owen Wilson, singer Pharrell, television host Ryan Seacrest, burlesque star Dita Von Teese and actress Jane Fonda were also spotted in the crowd that came out Saturday (Mar. 30)...

George Clooney’s Monuments Men in Real Life Featured at The Met

James J. Rorimer, one of art experts portrayed in George Clooney’s film “The Monuments Men,” will be featured in a new Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, highlighting his historic role saving priceless artworks during World War II. Rorimer became director of the Museum after the war. The film, starring Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman, is about museum directors, curators and art historians who go to war in search of plundered Nazi loot. ...

Amiri Baraka, Poet, Playwright Radical Black Activist, Dies at 79

Amiri Baraka, an influential black writer and artist, who veered into radicalism and became a chief proponent of black separatism during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, died yesterday (Jan 9.) after a long illness. He was 79. Amiri Baraka, an influential black writer and artist, who veered into radicalism and became a chief proponent of black separatism during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, died yesterday (Jan 9.) after a long illness. He was 79. Baraka came of age during the rise of the Beat Generation in the 1950s, a time when widely accepted values about life came into question, leading up to the counter-culture revolution....

Hildebrand Gurlitt, Notorious Nazi Art Thief, Surfaces in Art Probe

Hildebrand Gurlitt hailed from a family that was well known in artistic circles in pre-World War II Germany. His father was an architect and art historian, one brother was a musicologist and a nephew was an art dealer. But a deep, dark secret set him apart. During World War II, Gurlitt, a specialist in modern art, was hired by Joseph Goebbels, the feared Nazi propaganda minister, to loot priceless artworks from homes and museums across Nazi-occupied Europe....

Riley Keough, Michelle Williams Light Up Whitney Gala (photos!)

Riley Keough, granddaughter of the late King of Rock Elvis Presley, and actress Michelle Williams were among celebrities who polished their artsy cred at the Whitney Museum of American Art Gala & Studio Party in New York City last night (Oct. 23). Riley, who had a rough go in the tabloids recently, was the picture of hipster chic in her Louis Vuitton black mini-dress, with a white jacket from the designer’s spring 2013 collection....

Wallace Hartley’s Titanic Violin Fetches $1.5M at London Auction

Wallace Hartley, a second-class passenger on the Titanic, went down with the ship, but the violin he was playing on the night the liner stuck an iceberg survived and was sold at auction over the weekend for a surprisingly titanic sum, $1.5 million. The instrument was recovered in 2006 along with Hartley’s travel bag, which also was auctioned by Henry Aldridge & Son in London. The bag contained the violin and sheet music....

James J. Kaufman Novels Explore Themes of Honesty, Integrity

In his follow-up novel to “The Collectibles,” James J. Kaufman has delved even deeper into the meaning of life, the importance of honesty, the nature of love and the power of relationships. The 74-year-old former attorney, judge and, chief executive of the charitable “Imaging The World” foundation has called book two of his trilogy, “The Concealers.”...

Artist Revealed Behind Masterfully Faked Pollocks, Koonings, Rothkos

Pei-Shen Qian, described as a struggling Chinese artist, is the master forger behind one of the biggest scams to sweep the New York City art scene in years, involving more than 80 bogus paintings by modern masters. Alleged works by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell, were actually painted by the 73-year-old immigrant artist in the garage of his Queens home. Few details about the investigation are known. What is known is mostly contained in a new grand jury indictment of alleged scam mastermind Glafira Rosales, 57. She was arraigned today (Aug 19) in federal court in Manhattan....

Freer Gallery Hosts Chinese Martial Arts, 3-D Technology Gala

The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. will transform into a cultural hot spot for the final “Asia After Dark” after-hours event, featuring a night of exploration and discovery into Chinese martial arts and 3-D printing technology. Guests can explore 3-D scanning and printing with experts from the Smithsonian’s digitization program unit and participate in the creation of a 10-foot-tall replica statue of the Freer’s renowned “Cosmological Buddha.”...

Keith Girard

Keith Girard is Editor and Pubilsher of TheImproper, New York City’s cutting edge arts, entertainment pop culture and lifestyle Web magazine. Before that, he was editor-in-chief of Billboard magazine and a reporter for the Washington Post among other media positions.