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June 10, 2014 at 6:15 AM

Arts news: Stolen paintings, the Henry and more

Arts news just keeps flying over the digital transom. One day it’s Sir Mix-A-Lot at the symphony, next day it’s Robert Schenkkan winning a Tony, then it’s stolen artwork being ferried around in an El Camino.

Items of interest:

–Seattle art collectors and arts philanthropists John and Shari Behnke have endowed the directorship of the Henry Art Gallery. Current Henry director Sylvia Wolf will now officially be the John S. Behnke Director of the museum. The Behnkes have longstanding ties to the Henry. Robert Behnke, John’s father, served on the museum’s board from 1973 to 1999. John has been on the board since 2000, and in 2008 was on the search committee that chose Wolf as the museum’s new director. The Behnkes have donated works of art to the Henry, supported exhibitions at the museum and been involved in its fundraising. (Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts reporter)

– Two of the paintings by Seattle painter Whiting Tennis that were stolen in December have been recovered. Tennis’ gallerist Greg Kucera got a phone call recently from a man saying he’d found two works in an alley in Seattle. After requesting verification of the find, Kucera received images of “Blue Hamburger” and “Document,” the two largest of the stolen paintings. The paintings were exchanged for a cash reward in Federal Way; Kucera says the finder had planned to bring the paintings to his gallery, but “they wouldn’t fit in the back of his friend’s El Camino.”  Upon the paintings-for-cash swap, the finder asked if Kucera would offer him a job. “I shook his hand, thanked him, and said I wished him luck with his life,” Kucera says. Four other smaller paintings and one small sculpture remain missing. The stolen artworks were scheduled to be part of a January exhibit at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem. At the time of the theft they were in a rental truck at a Holiday Inn Express. (Michael Upchurch)

Seattle artist Naoko Morisawa is one of 55 artists selected to exhibit work in the second Dublin Biennial, open June 13-22. Morisawa creates intricate mosaics from thousands of tiny pieces of oil-dyed wood chips. “When seen from a distance, my artwork looks like a painting. The details of the work and mosaic slowly emerge when the viewer comes closer,” she says in her artist statement. She’s the recipient of a grant from the Puffin Foundation and has shown work at “Ex Libris: 100 Artists, 100 Books” event in Pioneer Square, the Kate Alkarni Gallery and the Alexis Hotel, as well as in Japan.

Comments | More in Arts news | Topics: art, Behnke, Dublin Biennial

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