One piece of weirdness currently on sale on TradeMe and LinkBusiness is an Auckland gallery specialising in “original contemporary New Zealand art by renowned New Zealand artists”. Sounds ok, except the works shown to entice you are a painting and sculpture by Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell’s Black figuration on blue and Transcendent presence by Richard Pousette-Dart. Who's betting these works come with the gallery asking price of $110,00?
The gallery image has of course been liberated from the internet and this TradeMe seller is not alone. Start with the Serenity Bed and Breakfast in Canada. It's offering tours art tours round the local galleries and guess what? That damn de Kooning is on show in Brighton, Ontario. Meanwhile Aaron Blumenshine has taken down the masters and replaced them with his own work while the San DiegoUniversity art school has thrown caution to the wind and simply used the image as is to promote itself. Karro International Fine Art in Miami at least had the decency to hang its own paintings in the hijacked space although it did leave the de Kooning sculpture as part of the decor. Biggest surprise use of the space has got to be a model wearing a hijab in a virtual fashion shoot although Cherry Cole, bless her, is up there with her imitation of a statue right in front of the de Kooning.
Who knows why this particular image has attracted so many appropriators (we found over fifty examples). Maybe it was nothing more than that the gallery space and the de Kooning looked like modern art should. Once it was out there and digital though, it was fair game
For the record the real owner of this museum space and the art works is the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan.
Images: From the top as seen in TradeMe, SanDiego University art school, Karro International Fine At, Aaron Blumshire's page, hajib fashions, Cherry Cole and as originally photographed in the galleries of the Grand Rapids Art Museum