The internationally acclaimed, 68 year old Norwegian Artist, Odd Nerdrum, was sentenced on June 27, 2012 to two years ten months in prison by the Norwegian appeals court for tax evasion. According to the sentence, he would not be allowed to paint in prison, as it would be considered a commercial activity. The increased sentence follows a year long controversy surrounding faulty evidence in the district court verdict of August 2011 in which Nerdrum was sentenced to two years.
The charge held against him was “gross tax fraud” for a sum of around $2.6 million. It was acknowledged by the court that the artist had paid the taxes in full. Nerdrum claims that he, in fact, paid twice – and the Norwegian tax authorities actually owe him money.
Nerdrum’s statement refers to the nature of the controversey that threatened to destroy his career, which began in 1989. Nerdrum learned that some 40 paintings, valued at several hundred thousand dollars a piece, had begun to dissintegrate due to an experimental technique. Nerdrum repainted these paintings between 1989 – 2002 offering them as replacements to the collectors.
The Norwegian tax authorities taxed Nerdrum for both the sale of the originals, which he wrote off as a loss, as well as the replacements given to his clients. This is where the dispute arose: the court’s decision hinged on a NY bank account, which Nerdrum claims he did not possess, and an Austrian bank box which had held some $900,000. The artist claims this sum as a loan from his New York gallery as a safety fund for clients who wanted a refund instead of replacement paintings. The artist presented a notarized contract between Nerdrum and his gallery, mentioning this sum, as well as its purpose, which the court judged irrelevant.
Many of his supporters around the world raise questions about the proceedings of the court. They dispute that the verdict is based upon conjecture rather than evidence, and claim that the increase from an already harsh sentence, is nothing more than persecution and a desire to punish Nerdrum for appealing the fist verdict.
The one thing that most seem to agree upon is that the sentence seems incredibly harsh, compared to the crime, and specifically not allowing an artist to create in prison could amount to cruel and unusual punishment
Artist Chooo-San discovered her talent for body art during a gap year studying for university admission exams. While taking breaks from her studies, she would often draw eyes on her hands. Soon, her doodles started getting better and better, so she moved on to create even more bizarre body modifications. Using only acrylic paint, the young Japanese girl can turn herself into a creepy mutant with several pairs of eyes covering her face, or a robot with integrated batteries and LCD display.
Kieron Williamson sold 24 paintings in about 15 minutes for the cool sum of £250,000 ($386,000), the Daily Mailreports. This by itself wouldn’t be incredible news, except for the fact that the artist is only nine years old.
The youthful English painter might be four years older than the pint-sized “action” painter Aelita Andre, but his eye is apparently more discerning than his precocious counterpart’s. Eschewing lesser quality materials, Williamson started painting in oil as well as watercolors from the tender age of five, creating bucolic scenes of the English countryside for a hungry group of domestic and international buyers. His mother writes on his website: “Kieron has always insisted on good quality adult art materials. He’s never been happy with poster paints!” And why would he be, when his paintings sell for thousands?
Michelle Williamson recently wrote her son’s biography, titled, “Kieron Williamson Coming to Light — The Remarkable Story of a Child’s Gift to Painting,”which, in case you’re interested, is selling for nearly $200 on Picturecraft Publishing. The publisher is not surprisingly affiliated with Picturecraft Gallery and Exhibition Center, which is holding a retrospective of her son’s work from July 20 – August 8, 2012 in Norfolk, UK.
Our question: How does one hold a retrospective for a nine-year-old? Moreover, how does one hold a straight face while doing it?
In case you were worried about helicopter parenting, Michelle told the Daily Mailthat “‘He no longer gets up at 6am and knocks out a painting before school.” At least he’s able to sleep in before a full day at elementary school.
What do you think, readers? Is this young artist receiving fame much too early? Where can he go from here? Scroll down for images of Kieron Williamson’s work and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Via Huffington Post