The world’s greatest forger
Do you know the name Wolfgang Beltracchi? Even if you don’t, you may have seen his paintings. And that fact is at the root of one of the craziest ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ stories you’ll ever hear. Wolfgang is a very talented painter, but he chose to use those talents to paint forgeries. Not just any forgeries though. He didn’t copy known paintings. Instead, he created whole new works that famous painters might have painted. Then, with the help of his wife, created the provenance necessary to authenticate them. They were very successful.
Wolfgang’s paintings ended up on the covers of auction magazines, hanging in museums, and were selling for millions of dollars. He was eventually caught because of an ill-conceived tube of white paint. The pigments in that tube didn’t exist when the painting they were used on was supposed to have been created. That discovery opened up a can of worms that is still being sorted out. At his trial, prosecutors identified 36 paintings that had sold for $46 million. But nobody knows exactly how many of them are still to be discovered.
Fun fact. The Beltracchi painting you see at the top of this post was purchased by Steve Martin. The entire story is fascinating and sounds like the treatment for a Hollywood film. You can read all the details at the CBS News post.
The Lotus C-01 is real
Rumors have been circulating for quite some time that Lotus was going to make a motorcycle. Exactly what form that would take was as big a question as whether or not it would ever actually happen. Now we know the answer to both. It is really happening, and they’ve built a drag-style cruiser, complete with a 200 HP v-twin. There are not a lot of other details available at the moment. Apparently, they will only build 100 of them, and the price hasn’t been announced. More background, and more pictures, are available at the Top Gear website.
Sinkholes, Man… Sinkholes
Some natural disasters are horrific just based on their sheer scale. When a volcano blows up on your head, the sheer size and power of it is mindbogglilng. Or when you see a tornado just pick up barn. And some are horrific based on the out of nowhere surprise. That’s where sinkholes come in. And this is a particularly dastardly one. Of all the places in Bowling Green, KY, this sinkhole could have opened up, it was directly under the National Corvette Museum. Yikes.
The hole is something on the order of 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep, and it swallowed eight Corvettes when it appeared. Those include two ZR-1s that were on loan from General Motors. There are more pictures and a full list of the cars consumed at the story on The Verge.
Update! Here is security cam footage of the sinkhole opening.
Shenanigans at the Olympics
There are all kinds of stories pouring out of the Sochi Olympics right now. Some are, admittedly, better than others. Rather than rehash the troubles plaguing the games, have a look at a fun little moment from the seed skating competition. After a performance that netted her a bronze medal in the 3000m race, Olga Graf unzipped her speedsuit (Go Team Venture!) to cool off. Then she remembered she wasn’t wearing anything under it. Her oops face reaction is a refreshing bit of candor in an event that can occasionally get all too serious.
Tradition? Stupid? Both?
So, the Seahawks won the Superbowl on Sunday. And today, Wednesday, there is a parade that has shut down streets downtown and caused backups all over the place. Even worse, school officials have actually said that this is an excused absence for any students that skip school to go to the parade. Isn’t this just stupid? How are these things not scheduled for Saturday or Sunday?
The quick answer is usually that it’s tradition to have the parade during the week, after the championship. But tradition, on its own, is always a horrible argument to make. If you are wondering what the streets look like, have a gander.
Animated Picture Disk
Picture disks are cool. I have a few of them. The one pictured above is my favorite. That’s the LP of Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe. What could possibly be better? How about animated picture disks? The video below shows a zoetrope disc, Plastic Infinite, from the audio-visual group Sculpture. If you were to just play it normally, the images are just a spinning blur. But if you add a strobe light, or film it at 25fps… that’s where the magic happens. The first edition is sold out, but if you would like to be notified when the second edition becomes available, you can sign up at the website.
Plastic Infinite from Sculpture on Vimeo.