Publicly displayed art is at risk as well it seems. In Austin, Texas thieves dismantled the base of this 10 foot Gibson guitar called “Sharp Axe”, and carted it off. I’m not sure how you don’t get spotted carrying a 10 foot fiberglass Gibson guitar. Were some Austin revellers having a bit too much fun on Sixth street perhaps? It’s one of a number of sculptures around Austin as part of a GuitarTown public art project. It was found later in a local restaurant. I guess if something looks good enough, somebody is always going to want to take it.
A similar situation occurred in New Zealand. Today it was reported that at the New Zealand Fringe Festival, artist Mat Hunkin had his public art stolen in broad daylight, the first day it was installed. It was the first day of a 5 day massive comic strip, so things don’t bode well for the other 4 days. He didn’t sound too depressed though, “Sure, it’s not Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ or anything like that, but I’m kind-of stoked that someone liked it so much that they would nick it in broad daylight. Who knows? It might end up in Sotheby’s art auctions one day.” Indeed, perhaps it will. They’ll have to wait until the statute of limitations has expired and or they manage to scrounge up a good faith purchaser though. Curiously, for an up-and-coming artist, a theft may be a great way to raise your profile.
It seems that this was not a theft at all. As Victor Engel commented, “‘Sharp Axe’ was never stolen. It apparently fell off its weak mount onto its face, breaking the neck of the guitar. Another Elephant Room customer and I moved it into the entryway to the Elephant Room at around midnight Sunday for safekeeping and notified the bartender.”
That story makes much more sense of course, but labelling something an art theft makes it much more newsworthy.