Monday, October 11, 2010

Mythbusters: Money Laundering Through Artworks

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer a few weeks back, lawyer Fernando Topacio claimed that paintings of young contemporary artists were being used by jueteng lords to launder their profits abroad.

He identified Ronald Ventura, Mark Justiniani, and Elmer Borlongan as among the most popular artists for this purpose, and he claimed further that the practice partly explained steady rise in the price of artworks by younger Filipino artists in the international art scene.

We don't really know how credible Mr. Topacio is, but we find it hard to believe that auctioning off artworks - even granting their rising prices - would be worth the time and effort of laundering a few thousand dollars worth of jueteng lord proceeds.

And indeed, according to Artnet, a quick look at the Artnet auction database doesn’t provide much evidence for at least one major part of his claim.

"Justiniani has only two works in the database," they say, "with the highest selling for about $6,200 in 2005, and Borlongan is not listed at all. Ventura’s auction record of about $280,000 was set at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2008, with other works going for considerably less at more recent sales."*

* A recent auction of one of Ronald Ventura's pieces, however, sold for about $331,000.00.
** Photo credit:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gutom Ka Na, Baby?

We are what we eat...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ongoing at Looking for Juan in Serendra

Daniel Aligaen and Mark Arcamo team up for IF FLUX COULD KILL, currently on view at the LookingForJuan art space (formerly 1/of Gallery) at the 2/F Shops at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City.

The artists present a collection of renditions of the ravages and delights of constant change.

UST-trained Aligaen plays visual tricks by capturing what time would have otherwise taken long to do. His canvases pretend to be old images with paint cracked and peeling, vandalized with black and white magazine cutouts used as stick-ons, as one would in a collage. In fact, the pieces are recently completed artworks. Striking is the artist’s distorted self-portrait with which he strove to express loss and grief, remembering his late father.

Arcamo employs his patterns that may be seen as stylized beehives, complementing his theme of frenetic activity. The FEU Fine Arts graduate parlays the speed with which things happen such that a man in suit has rainbow-colored rays where his head should be, a woman’s short-skirted lower form is topped by the head and arms of what appears to be a nude man, and layers of scenes merge in a disjointed but fascinating and almost fashionable manner.

The exhibit runs until October 16, 2010.

To view all the works, click here. For inquiries, please call 901-3152.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Malapit na Talaga!

More than two years in the making and we're now just a little over a month away! :-)

Here's a preview of what's to come!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Profiles in Courage

We must be doing something right if our country can still produce people like these two. (Click on the pics to see why...)