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Three Members of an Infamous German Crime Family Have Confessed to Participating in the Green Vault Heist


Three members of a prominent German crime syndicate have admitted to playing parts in the historic Green Vault heist.

The confessions came in a regional court in Dresden, where six suspects are on trial for their alleged participation in the night-time theft of $123 million worth of jewels from the city’s Grünes Gewölbe—or Green Vault—museum in 2019.

As part of sentencing deal, one of the defendants, Rabieh Remmo, admitted in a statement that he and an unnamed accomplice broke into the institution in the early hours of November 25, 2019, according to the Associated French Press

“My contribution to the crime was larger than I first said,” Remmo said, alluding to a partial confession he gave last year. “I was, myself, in the rooms of the Green Vault.”

Inside, Remmo and his partner used an ax to smash a vitrine holding numerous prized jewels, many of which date back to the late 1700s and were once owned by Saxony’s 18th-century ruler, Augustus the Strong, who founded the museum.

The thieves stashed the jewels in a sack, then used a fire extinguisher to erase traces of their DNA at the scene. Remmo and his co-conspirator fled the scene with other accomplices, burned their getaway car in a parking garage, then drove to Berlin in a vehicle disguised as a taxi.

Defendants sit next to their lawyers at the Higher Regional Court in Dresden, eastern Germany on January 10, 2023, prior to a hearing in the trial over a jewelry heist at the Green Vault museum in Dresden’s Royal Palace. Photo: Jens Schlueter/Pool/AFP via Getty Images.

Authorities in Germany announced last month that they retrieved 31 items stolen in the Green Vault heist after being pointed to their location as part of a deal with the suspect on trial. Other historically significant objects stolen in 2019—including the 49-carat Dresden White Diamond—remain missing. 

“I didn’t keep the loot. I didn’t have access to it,” Remmo said in court. “I don’t know what happened to it. I did all I could to ensure that what was left came back to Dresden.”

Two other suspects on trial, Wissam and Mohamed Remmo, also confessed to aiding the robbery. In statements read by their respective attorneys, the men explained that they didn’t enter the museum but instead waited outside as lookouts. 

A fourth defendant is expected to present a statement of his own in court this week, as part of a sentencing deal. Another suspect rejected the deal, while a sixth and final suspect on trial claims he did not participate in the theft. 

The defendants, all members of the extended Remmo crime family, have been on trial since January 2022. They face charges related to aggravated gang theft and serious arson, according to Dresden’s public prosecutor’s office.

Last week, the court recommended jail sentences that ranged in time from four years and nine months to six years and nine months. Hearings will continue later this week.

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Shop the Show: German Artist Meuser’s New Sculptures Playfully Critique the Legacy of North American Minimalism


Every month, hundreds of galleries showcase new exhibitions on the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on the exhibitions we think you should see. Check out what we have in store, and inquire more with one simple click.

 

What You Need to Know: The mononymous German artist Meuser presents 14 recent sculptures in “Close to the Material” at Galerie Nordenhake in Mexico City. Made primarily from crumpled sheets of steel, the assemblage sculptures are dashed with paints in browns, grays, and ochres and supplemented with found industrial materials. A student of Joseph Beuys and a frequent collaborator of Martin Kippenberger in the 1980s, Meuser creates art that sits on the edge of sculpture, painting, and installation. His works are often considered a reevaluation of the material waste left by industrialization, particularly in his native Germany. “Close to the Material” marks the artist’s eighth exhibition with Galerie Nordenhake but his first show at their Mexico City location. 

Why We Like It: Meuser’s sculptures playfully critique North American Minimalism. He assembles prefabricated and found elements in gestures that harken back to collage and objet trouvé. Rather than emphasizing the hardness and resistance of the materials, Meuser instead focuses on the flexibility and softness of his found objects. 

What The Gallery Says: “The titles of the works are very important; they are almost impossible to translate because they suggest a particular humor from an industrial mining area in Germany. The sculptures’ titles form kind of sarcastic narratives. 
It was very interesting for us to translate the titles of some of the sculptures. For instance, the sculpture with the title Pi mal Daumen—there is no way to literally translate the idiom. We attempted to approach the experience it describes instead, and we chose to translate it as ‘rule of thumb’ in English, and ‘A ojo de buen cubero’ in Spanish. Although there is an idea of the untranslatable in Meuser’s work, it was important for us to bring the public closer to the sculptures through translation. It certainly has been very interesting to read and explain Meuser’s work in the Mexican context,” said Hebe Garibay, who curated the exhibition. 

Meuser
Manneken Pis (2020)
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Meuser, Manneken Pis (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser, Manneken Pis (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser
 Pi mal Daumen (2020)
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Meuser, Pi mal Daumen (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser, Pi mal Daumen (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser
Untitled (2020)
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Meuser, Untitled (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser, Untitled (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

 

Meuser: Close to the Material” is on view at Galerie Nordenhake, Mexico City, through June 20, 2021.

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Studio Visit: German Artist Markus Lüpertz Is Painting Pictures of Arcadia and Drinking the Best Wine He Can Find


With a 60-year career behind him, German painter Markus Lüpertz is one of the most influential artists of postwar Germany.

In recent years, he has had major retrospectives at Munich’s Haus der Kunst (2019) and the Hirshhorn Museum and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. (2017).

The eccentric painter—a literal Bohemian born in Liberec in 1941 in the present-day Czech Republic—has been working for four years in studios in Germany and Italy on the works that he is preparing to show at Michael Werner Gallery in London. The works combine Southern and Northern European painting traditions, from Renaissance paintings to Greek statuary, and revolve around the theme of Arcadia, a pastoral utopia that is at once ancient and contemporary.

We caught up with Lüpertz at his studio in Märkisch Wilmersdorf, Germany, where he told us about taking inspiration from Old Masters, his love of jazz music, and how much he loves a good bottle of wine.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdor.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdorf.

What are the most indispensable items in your studio and why?

Foremost are my painting tools, a table where I hold my drawings, crayons, brushes, and paints, and a chair so I can step back and look at the work in progress from a distance. Then, natural daylight with northern exposure—just the essentials you need to get to work.

I often work on several canvases simultaneously. Our times stymie imagination with media overload, so I don’t have a cell phone—never had. There is no outside distraction. I work diligently all day. Inspiration comes through the work and process itself, so you can find me in the studio early in the morning throughout the day, working like an artist in a classic 19th- or 20th-century studio. My job as painter is to reveal the world as I see it.

Is there a picture you can send of your work in progress?

This is my studio last fall preparing for the upcoming exhibition at Michael Werner Gallery in London. The show focuses on the theme of Arcadia, a classic, pastoral utopia.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdor.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdorf.

What is the studio task on your agenda tomorrow that you are most looking forward to?

In my early work, I wasn’t as concerned with populating the horizon in my paintings; that only came later when I turned to bronze. When you populate a horizon, you have a sky and the earth, so you put objects there. On Earth, you have the devil and the humans and your imagination. And in the sky, you have floating objects. It’s all just a game. So I work between two studios: the painting studio and the plaster and bronze workshop. In this sense, tomorrow is a continuation of today, letting my imagination either transform the canvas, or take shape in space.

What kind of atmosphere do you prefer when you work? Do you listen to music or podcasts, or do you prefer silence? Why?

I am a classic and actual Bohemian, a man of the humanities. The visual arts were and are always part of the performing arts, and all are important to me: poetry and literature, and music, opera, operetta, jazz.

Since 2003, I have published the magazine Frau und Hund which also includes some of my own writings. And I am also a jazz musician, regularly playing the piano. I have designed several sets for opera, and so music is often part of my studio practice.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdor.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdorf.

What trait do you most admire in a work of art? What trait do you most despise?

Since the 1960s, we have seen a lot of isms, like the avant-garde. I have a theory that avant-gardism as a whole kept painting from developing further. Avant-gardism opened up painting, and that was a truly important epoch in art history. For a specific period of time that was necessary, as a liberation from politics, religion, academicism, all these things. But avant-gardism, like everything revolutionary, has become entrenched and therefore bourgeois. Today, avant-gardism has become a credo with its own rituals.

I strive to move past that and define something new and unique. For this, I often look back at Old Masters, [whom] I navigate between in order to arrive at a very specific visual language, a visual language of our time. I try to discover paintings where I think they’re hidden.

What snack food could your studio not function without?

I would never neglect a very good bottle of wine, but usually after dusk. Or a classic beer shared with friends playing skat.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdor.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdorf.

Who are your favourite artists, curators, or other thinkers to follow on social media right now?

I don’t use social media, although you could certainly consider me social.

When you feel stuck in the studio, what do you do to get un-stuck?

I travel to workshops or change the studio. Travelling south to Tuscany to observe the way the sun hits the Italian landscape changes my perspective.

What is the last exhibition you saw (virtual or otherwise) that made an impression on you?

The works in the London show include references to a recent visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. There is always a Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gentileschi, Füssli, or Poussin waiting to enthral me.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdor.

Markus Lüpertz Studio. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdorf.

If you had to put together a mood board, what would be on it right now?

My worktable in the studio is my mood board, you can find everything there that I need to get to work. The rest is in my head.

Markus Lüpertz: Recent Paintings” is on view at Michael Werner Gallery, London, April 12 through May 15.

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As Dealers Look to Reinvent Their Businesses, German Gallerist Johann König Is Hiring an Auctions Expert to Steer His In-House Fair Model


In a sign of further hybridization of the art market, Galerie König in Berlin has announced a revamped 2021 edition of the in-house art fair that it piloted last year. To oversee the weeklong sale of primary and secondary market works, the gallery has appointed an auctions expert to the helm.

Lena Winter has now joined the gallery as the director of the event, dubbed Messe in St. Agnes (“messe” is both the word for fair and church service in German). Her expertise flows from the German auction world, where she served as head of the contemporary art department at Ketterer Kunst in Munich, one of Germany’s leading auction houses. She previously worked at Lempertz and Grisebach auction houses.

The 2021 fair will run May 2 through 9 this spring at a converted brutalist church that the gallery operates as an exhibition space (hence the pun). The dates overlap with Gallery Weekend Berlin, which takes place as a two-part even this year, with its first chapter running from April 29 to May 2 this year (the second event will take place in September focused on more emerging and underrepresented positions).

Messe in St. Agnes. by Roman Maerz.

2020 Messe in St. Agnes. by Roman Maerz.

“In auction houses, prices are more transparent and so there is less anxiety around for new clients entering the art market,” Winter told Midnight Publishing Group News. “We want to take this approach, and have transparency be one of the main aspects of the fair in St. Agnes. We want things to be democratic.”

This year’s edition of the fair will be a tidied up version of the salon-style concept that it debuted last year, in May and September. This time around, works will be curated into different thematic sections: abstract expressionism, figuration, and “young contemporary” are a few placeholder ideas that are in the making. Winter said the gallery is creating a specialized architecture to better accommodate the viewing experience.

When Messe St. Agnes was first launched last spring, it was met was a mix of both gratitude by some and friction with other dealers in the city. “It’s always difficult for people to adapt to new formats and the mix of primary and secondary markets,” said König. “But we need to all find new niches in our own regions.”

Both Winter and König share the conviction that the art market needs to hybridize its various sectors, the gallery and auction worlds, and continue to innovate. “You have to open the borders between the primary and secondary market, because they need each other,” said Winter. “The one market is not anything without the other.”

She adds that the relationship between the primary and secondary markets was marked by “misunderstanding” for a long time, as well as a fear of that primary dealers had of auctions due to the transparency of sales.

The gallery may be the first in Germany to fully embrace such a path. Still, this blurring of categories is also occurring online this month with VEZA, an online selling event organized by Goodman Gallery that focuses on highlighting selected works by dealers in the Global South. And auction houses, for their part, have been leaning more on private sales, while also trying out new concepts, such as Christie’s primary market sale “Say It Out Loud,” which was organized by dynamo curator Destinee Ross-Sutton.

“The pandemic sped up a process that was already necessarily transforming,” said Winter. “It is not possible for a gallery to simply grow by only having their 20 or so artists anymore.”

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