Attention San Francisco art thief:
Stealing art is a lousy thing to do. You must enjoy breaking hearts and making people cry. If you think you've gotten over on some snobby fat cat, you're wrong. Most galleries are started as a labor of love, funded by the owners' credit cards. Do you think you're cool because you're holding a piece of artwork that you didn't pay for? Is it all fun and games to spoil a neighborhood art gallery's trust in the community and make them install security cameras so more jerks like you can't rip them off? Save yourself some bad karma by wrapping up your undeserved prize and mailing it back to where it belongs, because San Francisco galleries have a posse and they're looking for you.
Mad About You in SF
The following works were stolen from local galleries in 2008:
Missing since June 12, 2008 from White Walls Gallery in the Tenderloin:
Two paintings by Sylvia Ji. The works had already been purchased by collectors, so Ji has to create two new pieces of equal size. White Walls' current exhibition, Awful Mountain, includes some pocket-sized works that the gallery has had to secure with creative solutions like wire ties and double-sided tape.
Missing since July 9, 2008 from RVCA Gallery at Haight and Ashbury:
A mini messenger bag painted by Barry McGee and a small painting by Clare Rojas. The gallery had to install security cameras after this incident. McGee's work is frequently stolen -- even some of his large-scale public works have been swiped -- but the piece stolen from RVCA was from the artist's personal collection and considered priceless.
Missing since September 20, 2008 from the W Hotel Gallery Downtown:
A painting by Greg LaMarche from an exhibit co-organized by curators at White Walls Gallery. Despite security hangers, this piece was taken right off the wall during business hours while people were around, just like all the others listed here. There are security cameras in the W Hotel but the piece happened to be hanging in a blind spot.
Missing since October 15 2008 from Gallery 16, SOMA:
Two paintings on wood by influential San Francsico artist Margaret Kilgallen (1967-2001). These pieces were from gallery owner Griff Williams's private collection and were given to him as a gift by Kilgallen, who never felt entirely comfortable participating in the art market. Kilgallen often chose not to sell her work, prefering instead to reuse some pieces to create new installations. Gallery 16 is burglarized after hours about once a year, but the artwork has always been passed over in favor of computer equipment. Williams says he's been tempted to take the complex, jerry-rigged structures used to sneak into the building and display them in the gallery. But the two young men who stole the Kilgallen pieces lifted them in the morning when the gallery had just opened and Williams was working on a book edition in the back room. He said the hardest part of the theft was breaking the news to his wife, who was especially fond of Kilgallen and the paintings.
Missing since November 9, 2008 from Triple Base Gallery, Mission District:
A small painting by Jay Nelson. The artist was featured on the New York Times web site the weekend this piece was stolen. Triple Base was planning to take the small watercolor to the NADA Art Fair at the end of this month.
If you have seen these works of art or have any information about them, please leave a comment here or contact the galleries (listed below).