darek kondefer (hermit) selected works

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the children of Sodom DAREK KONDEFER

I, formed of clay and dust, do not understand. Is this how it should be?
Is this how your unlimited wisdom looks like?
Ten could not be found, but there were children. Is the death of the innocent allowed?
Is your name Moloch?
I, the clay pot, must understand in order to believe.
Cursed be the second day! We were made frail – you decided so.
Blinded by the pride of inhospitability, we became flooded by fire.
This is your plan – the sword and the flame, pillars of ash and salt.
Do you know that after you, others will follow the path of destruction?
And the next city will not be Zoara.

My reflections on art, collectors, marchers and contemporary art auctions

Hauser & Wirth, Thaddaeus Ropac, and Other Galleries Just Signed on to an Upstart Digital-Only Art Fair Opening in October. Qu Chang Curator in Para Site. Peggy Leboeuf, Partner, Perrotin. Austrian dealer Thaddaeus Ropac has been dealing in art for thirty years. Curator Rózsa Zita Farkas. Maria Arena Bell and William Bell Jr. collector Contemporary art; Modern art | Hauser & Wirth, Thaddaeus Ropac und andere Galerien haben sich soeben für eine neuartige, ausschließlich digitale Kunstmesse angemeldet, die im Oktober eröffnet wird. Qu Chang Kurator in Para Site. Peggy Leboeuf, Partnerin, Perrotin. Der österreichische Händler Thaddaeus Ropac ist seit dreißig Jahren im Kunsthandel tätig. Kuratorin Rózsa Zita Farkas. Maria Arena Bell und William Bell Jr. Sammler Zeitgenössische Kunst; Moderne Kunst

Former gallery owner Inigo Pilbrick was sentenced to seven years in prison. This brought to an end one of the most spectacular art fraud cases in recent years before the Supreme Court in New York.

In December 2019, the Bloomberg news agency reported that a total of six lawsuits had been filed against Inigo Philbrick, a gallery owner headquartered in Miami, Florida: in London, New York and Miami. The 32-year-old, gifted with an eye for art and a flair for business, has been accused of selling the same artwork multiple times - to different investors from Asia, Europe and the US. "Miami is a sunny place for shady people" - the saying had apparently been confirmed once again.

The stumbling block was a 2012 painting by the South Tyrolean artist Rudolf Stingel (*1956), which was auctioned off on May 15, 2019 at Christie's, New York, for $5.5 million. As was later revealed, the consignors were David and Simon Reuben (after the Queen, the richest Britons): through their company Guzzini Properties. The Reuben brothers received the painting from Philbrick in 2017 as collateral for a $6 million loan. The New York dealer Stellan Holm was awarded the contract. But even before Holm could take possession of the picture, other claims were made. Hedge fund manager Aleksandar Pesko said he has owned a half stake in the painting since 2016. And the Berlin-based company Fine Art Partners (FAP) reported that it had acquired the work from a Russian collector for $7.1 million on Philbrick's advice in 2015, only to have Philbrick sell it for a profit in good time.

Not an isolated case. For example, Philbrick also sold a share of Jean-Michel Basquiat's mixed media collage "Humidity" to said Pesko for $12.2 million, which he had previously acquired in a private sale - just not for $18.5 million , as he told Pesko, but only for 12.5 million. Since Philbrick only contributed $300,000 to the deal, Pesko was effectively the rightful owner of the artwork. However, his efforts to preserve the work later failed because Athena Art Finance, New York, had pledged the work - which served as collateral for a $13.5 million loan for Philbrick.

Philbrick sold one of Yayoi Kusama's abstract "Infinity Net" paintings, which investor Andre Sakhai bought from a London gallery for $850,000 - after his daughter's godfather, Sakhai, entrusted him with the painting to restore water damage that had occurred in the meantime had – without further ado to the Belgian company Parfinim. Sakhai told the New York Times that he never saw any money for it.

The art critic Kenny Schachter, who was a friend of Philbrick for many years, spoke of 25 to 30 works that the “talented Mr. Philbrick” – as the New York Times refers to the film role of the imposter “Mr. Ripley” headlined – monetized on this pattern. At the same time, these works served him as security for various million-euro loans. All in all, this was possibly a kind of Ponzi fraud scheme à la “Bernie” Madoff, in which the originator of the scheme is known to every “customer”, but the source of the profit distribution is unclear in each case. In focus: the former intern from the renowned White Cube Gallery in London. Having joined in 2010, Philbrick quickly gained the trust of gallery founder Jay Jopling through good work in the aftermarket business. When Philbrick set up his own gallery in 2013, Jopling supported him financially.

Where did the works in Philbrick's gallery come from? Who served him with big names like Franz West, Bruce Nauman, Donald Judd? With whose money was the multi-million dollar work bought? Was it always only the FAP that supported him, with the help of which Philbrick demonstrably also acquired positions by the sought-after artists Christopher Wool, Wade Guyton and Yayoi Kusama?

The dealer had disappeared without a trace for almost half a year. At the beginning of June 2020, he was finally tracked down by the FBI in Vanuatu, an island country in the South Pacific, arrested and charged with electronic fraud and identity theft in New York, among other things. In the meantime, the former shooting star was threatened with up to 20 years in prison – a few days ago he was sentenced to seven years in prison. The total damage is said to amount to 86 million dollars – initially there was talk of 20 million. The amount Philbrick has to pay to the injured party is to be decided at a later date.

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