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Four Bronze Nudes Purloined

Sculptures Missing From Dupont Gallery

By Jonathan Padget
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 11, 2004; Page C05

Seen any good art lately? Like in the past week or so? Specifically, four bronze nudes that were stolen from Aaron Gallery in Dupont Circle?

The sculptures by Miriam Rylands were to be featured in an exhibition that opened Friday. But gallery co-owner Consuelo Aaron reported to the Metropolitan Police Department on Election Day that the pieces -- delivered late last month and stored on site -- were nowhere to be found.


Miriam Rylands's sculptures were stolen last week from Aaron Gallery. (Courtesy of the artist)

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Valued at more than $10,000, the sculptures were packed in a canvas bag and ranged from toaster size to microwave size. Rylands doubts that anyone but a "very, very strong man" could carry all of them at once.

"You do your work, and it disappears," says Rylands, who moved from Brazil to Washington five years ago. "It's very upsetting."

MPD 3rd District Cmdr. Larry McCoy says art theft is rare in the jurisdiction, and he doubts the sculptures could be easily sold. "These are specific items you don't see too much of," he says.

Aaron says the gallery has had art stolen several times during its 21-year history on Connecticut Avenue, and she theorizes that the art is sold for a fraction of its value by petty criminals desperate for cash. Still, she hopes gallery owners and dealers will keep an eye out for the sculptures should they surface in traditional art channels.

"It's such a tragic thing that's happened to Miriam," adds Aaron, who hopes to find a foundry that can take Rylands's original molds and cast replacements at a reduced cost. The stolen sculptures were not covered by the gallery's insurance.

McCoy encourages anyone with information about the theft to call 3rd District detectives at 202-673-6914.

Out's 100

The gay magazine Out has included glass sculptor Tim Tate on its annual "Out 100" list of notable people. Tate, a founder and co-director of the Washington Glass School, was named an Outstanding Emerging Artist earlier this year at the Mayor's Arts Awards. He joins a mix of established and rising figures in the visual arts section of the "Out 100" -- including pop art icon David Hockney, sexually provocative photographer Anthony Goicolea and Korean interdisciplinary artist Erica Cho.

Out Editor in Chief Brendan Lemon says he was first exposed to Tate's work when he visited Fraser Gallery during a trip to Washington last year. He was struck by Tate's exploration of his HIV-positive status in his work -- something that proved to be an "important factor" when final "Out 100" selections were made. Lemon adds that Tate's selection also serves to remind Out readers nationwide that Washington has a worthwhile art scene beyond large museums.

The magazine will host a party for "Out 100" honorees tomorrow in New York. The list -- which also recognizes achievements in business, politics, literature, media, fashion, entertainment and performing arts -- is featured in Out's December issue.

Sistine Superheroes

Some people look at Michelangelo's 12 sibyls and prophets from the Sistine Chapel ceiling and see glimpses of spiritual destiny revealed through the complexity of religious narrative, rendered by the strokes of a master artist's hand.


Richard Kightlinger's potrait of Wonder Woman. (Courtesy Richard Kightlinger)
Artist Richard Kightlinger looked at them and saw -- well, superheroes.

DC Comics superheroes, to be exact. Six years ago he set about matching the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman with their perfect Sistine Chapel counterparts, creating a series of genre-melding portraits that put classically styled comic book heroes in place of the sibyls and prophets. The full series is being shown for the first time at Pulp, the funky card, gift and art emporium on 14th Street.

The centuries-crossing connection was obvious to Kightlinger, a Louisiana native who has lived in Washington for 13 years. "Michelangelo's figures are strong and powerful -- they're superheroic on their own," he says. "I wanted to see artistic and pop icons combined to make new icons."

Does the concept work? You have until Jan. 5 to draw your own conclusions. Pulp, 1803 14th St. NW, is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. Call 202-462-7857 or visit www.pulpdc.com.

The Art of Healing

The Society for the Arts in Healthcare will hold a fundraising art auction, "The Art of Healing," next Thursday at the Josephine Butler Parks Center in Meridian Hill Park. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit society, which was founded in 1991 to promote the arts as an integral component of health care.

The auction starts at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are required by Monday. Call 202-299-9770 or visit www.thesah.org.


© 2004 The Washington Post Company