Housatonic Museum of Art presents Lecture: Art, Crime, and SoHo Sins

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a lecture with Richard Vine, the managing editor of Art in America. Art, Crime and SoHo Sins will highlight Vine’s debut novel, SoHo Sins, followed by a book signing and reception with the author Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m., at the museum, located at 900 Lafayette Blvd in Bridgeport. All are welcome and encouraged to come.

The lecture relates to the museum’s latest exhibition, Rendezvous In Black, featuring two solo shows by artists Cindy Sherman and Ann Chernow. The entirely black and white exhibition is inspired by film noir, a dark and edgy film style that emerged in the early 1940s, and is on display through Dec. 16.

Throughout history, art and crime have been deeply intertwined. Not only have artworks been the target of criminal behavior — vandalism, theft, and forgery — they have also frequently taken crimes as their subject matter: Andy Warhol’s 13 Most Wanted Men, Weegee’s murder-victim photographs, Mike Kelley’s installation in response to serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Equally disturbing, artworks themselves have often been regarded as criminal acts, accused of sacrilege (Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ), obscenity (Robert Mapplethorpe’s “X Portfolio”), treason (Dread Scott’s What Is the Proper Way to Display US Flag?), and other malfeasance.

Finally, such recent events as the fraud charges brought against Knoedler Gallery personnel, and the release of the Panama Papers, confirming financial chicanery among top collectors, prompt one to ask if the contemporary art world is itself, in many respects, a criminal environment.

Is the flow of stupendous wealth through a largely unregulated global art system a ready prescription for legal (to say nothing of moral) wrongdoing? Is there some deep link between hardcore crime and the aesthetic rule-breaking and “outlaw” imaginative freedom that we routinely associate with artistic creativity?

In conjunction with the release of his art world crime novel SoHo Sins, Richard Vine, the longtime managing editor of Art in America, will analyze these and other related issues, drawing equally from art history, the news, and his own noir fiction.

Vine’s debut novel — characterized by one commentator as “The Great Gatsby meets Raymond Chandler” — offers an insider’s tour of the strangely fascinating art world of 1990s New York, and a searing visit to the darkest chambers of the human heart.

Major support for the Housatonic Museum of Art is provided by the Werth Family Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts/Art Works as well as many generous individual donors.

About the Housatonic Museum of Art

The Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) is home to one of the premier college art collections in the United States.  Its collection offers students and the community alike the opportunity to view works that span the history of art from the ancient to the contemporary.  Unique to the Housatonic Community College campus, this permanent collection is on continuous display throughout the 300,000 square foot facility, offering a rare opportunity for both art enthusiasts and casual observers to view and interact with the art on a daily basis.  Visit HousatonicMuseum.org to learn more.

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