Ahad, 13 April 2014

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Stolen or junked by cleaners? Fate of missing RM12mil Chinese painting unknown

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 11:50 PM PDT

A painting went missing a day after it was auctioned for HK$28.8mil (RM12mil), with media reports suggesting that cleaners may have inadvertently junked it.

The 2012 painting – Snowy Mountain by Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo – was reported missing by Chinese auctioneers Poly Auction on Tuesday afternoon after the auction on Monday, police said.

Missing art: Snowy Mountain by Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo (below), is nowhere to be found. Speculation in Hong Kong media suggests that it may have been thrown out with the garbage. 

Ming Pao newspaper reported that police had checked CCTV footage at the Grand Hyatt hotel, where the auction took place, which showed cleaners removing the painting. That raised fears that the painting had been sent out with the garbage to the city's landfill.

Poly Auction Hong Kong was not immediately available for comment. Police could not confirm the media report about the painting being thrown out.

Gladis Young, director of communications at the Grand Hyatt hotel, said hotel staff were not involved because organisers of events involving valuable items usually hired external staff to deal with security and handling of goods.

On Tuesday, a rare Ming Dynasty 'chicken cup' broke world auction records for Chinese porcelain after it sold for HK$281.2mil at a Sotheby's sale in Hong Kong, exceeding the US$32.4mil paid for a Qing double-gourd vase in 2010. – Reuters

Jersey Boys is as true to life as it gets

Posted: 10 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Broadway musical Jersey Boys is as true to life as it gets.

Gambling, infidelity, punch-ups, drugs, mob connections – hardly the stuff you'd think of when mellowing out to the doo wop stylings of songs like Sherry, Bigs Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like A Man. Yet, these dark undercurrents permeated almost every aspect of 1960s pop group The Four Seasons.

Apart from a jukebox of hits, Jersey Boys is a musical tied to drama, friendship and personal redemption. Theatre-goers here will be in for quite a musical ride when Jersey Boys starts its run at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur next Tuesday.

The group's members Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi were, after all, New Jersey boys raised on the wrong side of the street, and for all their phenomenal success, they could not outrun the demons of their past.

Despite being one of the biggest musical acts of its era – they sold 175 million records worldwide – the band's journey was fraught with drama, from Valli's volatile relationships and DeVito's jealousy of Valli to DeVito's gambling addiction that eventually bankrupted the band.

The Four Seasons band member Tommy DeVito has a road named after him in his hometown of Belleville, New Jersey in the  United States. The musical Jersey Boys is based on the band's rise to fame.

The Four Seasons band member Tommy DeVito has a road named after him in his hometown of Belleville, New Jersey in the  United States. The musical Jersey Boys is based on the band's rise to fame.


But this is exactly what makes the smash Broadway musical Jersey Boys more than just a band biography – the fact that, when it comes to The Four Seasons' story, truth trumps fiction every time. And when the musical's writers Marshall Brickman (who co-wrote the films Annie Hall and Manhattan with Woody Allen) and Rick Elice heard Valli and Gaudio's stories, they knew they had hit upon stage gold.

The rest was Broadway history: in an astounding feat for a debut production, Jersey Boys scooped up four Tony Awards in 2006 (including Best Musical), and won Best Musical at the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards for its London premiere.

To think Clint Eastwood is also set to roll out the Jersey Boys movie, based on this musical, later this year.

The Belmont Tavern in Belleville, New Jersey,  where the band members of The Four Seasons used to frequent.

The Belmont Tavern in Belleville, New Jersey,  where the band members of The Four Seasons used to frequent.


A media trip in late 2011 to New Jersey gave me the rare opportunity to see for myself where The Four Seasons had come from. Having just caught the musical on Broadway, we were taken on a visit to Belleville, New Jersey, with a police escort, no less – some of the neighbourhoods we visited were less than savoury.

The band's history is practically inseparable from the predominantly Italian-American community of Belleville; from the run-down housing projects where Valli and DeVito grew up in, to the street lamp on a street corner where the band used to perform for the neighbourhood, this was indeed where The Four Seasons was conceived.

Stopping in to have dinner at the Belmont Tavern, where pictures of The Four Seasons covered the walls, we were regaled by stories from its regulars of the band in its early days, and of how the members used to come in for drinks even after becoming famous.

There is even a street in Belleville named after DeVito, who apparently still visits his old stomping grounds in town from time to time. Therein lies the real magic of Jersey Boys: for all its showbiz spectacle, it is, at its core, utterly real.

> Jersey Boys will be showing at Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur from April 15-27. Ticket prices range from RM200 to RM680, and are available through all TicketCharge channels. For more info, log on to www.ticketcharge.com.my

Hotline: 03-9222 8811. Show info: www.facebook.com/jerseyboys.malaysia

The show is organised by Milestone Production Sdn Bhd. The Star is the gold sponsor and Red FM the official radio station. The Star readers can enjoy a 20% discount on all ticket categories throughout the show's run here. Just key in the promo code: "STAR" when purchasing via www.ticketcharge.com.my, or at their outlets.

Malaysian Art Friends 2 exhibition: Sharing the hidden gems

Posted: 12 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A spokesman for the Malaysian Art Friends group shares his thoughts on the Malaysian Art Friends 2: Selected Works From 10 Collectors exhibition.

Pakhruddin Sulaiman, a lawyer, veteran art collector and the spokesman for the Malaysian Art Friends group, tells us what the exhibition is all about. 

There is broad scope for personal tastes and passions when it comes to private collections. What was the curatorial brief given to each collector for this exhibition?

I need to clarify at the outset that the 30 Art Friends 2 project is primarily a project to produce a coffee table book featuring the selection of three art works from each of the 30 collectors who subscribed to the project (10 from Malaysia, 10 from Singapore and 10 from the Philippines) and their respective essays on those artworks. 

It's a sequel to the 30 Art Friends: Appreciating South-East Asian Art published in 2010, where the 30 collectors then comprised 15 from Malaysia and 15 from Singapore.

Hence the lack of any curatorial brief for this project as it is not envisaged to be accompanied by an exhibition. In fact for the first and second 30 Art Friends projects, no exhibition entailed the launching of both books in Singapore. 

But on the Malaysian end, we wanted to do something extra and hence the exhibition of Malaysian Art Friends: Highlights From 15 Private Collections accompanying the first book launch in 2010 and now Malaysian Art Friends 2: Selected Works From 10 Collectors accompanying the sequel's launch.

Far from being a mere speculative portfolio, this exhibition has a diverse and interesting range. How did things fall together?

Having said that, if the current Malaysian Art Friends 2 exhibition looks coherent despite the body of diverse works representing some of the best works from the country's modernist period till today (together with some interesting Indonesian, Filipino and Vietnamese works thrown in to spice it up), I would hasten to add that the ultimate aggregate and mix of works that we have, was not left entirely to pure chance.

What I did, as the one entrusted with leading the Malaysian collectors, was to choose carefully the right mix of collectors whom I know will yield the desired mix of interesting art works for the book and also the exhibition. 

That's why the choice of the Malaysian Art Friends ranges from veteran collectors like Tun Daim (Zainuddin) to younger collectors like Pital (Mohd Pital Maarof). Having some sense or indication of what works they collect is most definitely useful here. And we know that Dr Steve (Wong) and Datuk Sandra (Wong), for example, do not merely collect Malaysian artworks but also works from the region and so as the result shows, they indeed delivered the South-East Asia flavour to the show. 

And of course, when you choose a maverick collector like U-Wei (Haji Saari), obviously you would get some surprising and unexpected works thrown into the equation. This is the unwritten rule or criteria as you may put it, for the selection of Malaysian Art Friends.

Being a collector, do you need a good mix of hobby, patronage and professionalism to maintain a fresh approach when it comes to art collecting?

A good mix as you mentioned – of hobby, patronage and professionalism – is indeed very important to maintain not just the freshness but also the integrity of our collection. But it's a matter of degree which one of those you may want to emphasise more, but that mix you must have. And of course all these must be driven by one's own vision for one's art collection.

What would be the best and most effective way to acquire art? Is it mostly through the gallery scene, auction houses or straight from the artists?

Most of us seasoned collectors have hitherto acquired our artworks from the galleries. As we begin to know the artists and become close friends with them, we do indeed get the opportunity to acquire works directly from them but this mode of acquisition is still an exception rather than the norm.

As for the auction houses, they are still at a nascent stage and therefore do not really satisfy the voracious appetite of most collectors with their offerings, both in terms of the range and quality of artworks they offer and the regularity of their auctions. 

The pioneer and most seasoned of them, Henry Butcher Auctioneer, for example only conducted two auctions in a year and so I view the offerings at the auctions as something to complement – rather than replace – what are being offered throughout the year by the various commercial galleries. 

Related story:

Private treasures: Art collector group lines up amazing discoveries

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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