Thursday, September 21, 2006

Axl owes

Back when Brix Smith showed her house to the Daily Mail, we wondered how Brian Molko could afford to lend her a Warhol original. Tim Footman of Cultural Snow suggested that Warhol churned out his work with the all the care to personalisation shown by Microsoft packaging boxes of spreadsheet software, and so the artwork might not be that expensive. Tim's in Bangkok, which places him at the heart of the coup. We hope the new military-civil service junta there aren't Warholites, and wish him well.

However, the vexed question of the value of the world's most over-rated artist has raised itself again as the ongoing struggle to get Axl Rose to pay his arthouse bills. Broker Acquire d'Arte (that's French for 'You might not know much about art, but you know how to write a cheque, don't you?') had managed to beat down the price on a Warhol picture of John Lennon from USD2.65million to USD2.36million. The picture was duly delivered.

Subsequently, Rose gave Acquire d'Arte a payment which was less than they were expecting. According to a lawsuit Acquire d'Arte have filed in New York:

Rose's manager and attorney told the broker that the rocker would not pay the remaining balance because he didn't have enough money and "the painting was not worth the price he had agreed to pay."

If their version of events is true, that's a spectacular flub on the part of Roses' people - you might, with some justification, try and weasel out the deal by saying, once you got it in the light, it looked less like Lennon and more like Blakey from On The Buses, or the frame was scratched, or there simply wasn't a decent painting hidden underneath. But to say "I haven't got the money... oh, and it's rubbish" makes it look terribly like you're trying to get out of buying a picture you can't afford.

Besides, Rose did offer to pay USD1.21million, which has the air of an even more arbitrary figure he's pulled out the air. How did he decide that the picture was worth that? Did he start with the full price, and go around knocking off 100,000 bucks at a time? "He's got the eyes wrong... that's a hundred grand off per eye... and he's coloured over the lines there, that's another 100 big ones..."

Rose's people have indicated that they're not sure things played out quite like this:

Rose's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, said some of the deal's terms and conditions may have been misrepresented to his client.

"It's my opinion that Axl Rose is the victim of some fraud or misrepresentation here," Weitzman said Wednesday.


Only some of the terms and conditions, you note.

SCUM ManifestoPlug: The SCUM manifesto, by Warhol's strongest critic


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