Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rene & Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war

I just read the news about Magritte's "Olympia" being stolen in Belgium. The article maintains that the small painting of Magritte's wife has a street value of about 1.1 mill. As if anyone would try to sell the thing -- these sorts of thefts are usually commissioned. But it's odd, in the current version of America, to think of something so romantic and fictionalized as a major art theft actually taking place, anywhere in the world. I expect looting of national treasures in Middle Eastern countries; I expect all sorts of intellectual property hassles and copyright infringement suits and countersuits. I am surprised to hear that guys with guns are still stealing paintings, back in the Old Country (no, not the Old Country Buffet you dipshits). All I can think of is Pierce Brosnan and that actress with the chin -- Renee Russo -- dancing and screwing their way through "The Thomas Crowne Affair." A movie complete with impossibly corny heist scenarios and supermodels with no spoken lines playing master forgers. (And a really enjoyable flick, by the way.)

Better still, I'm reminded of Paul Simon's great song, the title of which I purloined for this posting. It has a beautiful melody, and it is touching and intimate and had some private significance for Simon when he wrote it. "...were dining with the power elite, when they opened their bedroom door. And what do you think they found hidden away, in the cabinet cold of their hearts? The penguins, the moonglows, the orioles, and the fire sounds..."

Intimacy. On the one hand we have art thieves with guns, and on the other, we have quiet lyrics about aging and loss and art. Somewhere in between...well, not much can be real there. It's not a Newsweek scenario.

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