A Theft, A Cocktail, A Hundred Faces

This week's On the Nose, In the Know & Other News examines how an art heist is pulled and which Picasso was stolen from where; we roam through the halls of the NSW Gallery and come face to face with a hundred years of Australian portraiture; and, finally, to take the edge off, we dabble in the kitchen, pull out the chopping board, open the liquor cabinet, and experiment with some cocktails.



From the news desk, the Pablo Picasso painting Head of a Woman, stolen from the Athens National Gallery in 2012, has now been discovered in a storage unit on the outskirts of Athens, Greece. Hoorah to Greece, art lovers, and, of course, the die-hard Picasso fanatics. The 1939 portrait of Picasso’s lover Dora Maar was gifted to the National Gallery of Athens by Picasso after the Greek peoples' steadfast resistance to Nazi Germany.

This seven-minute art heist included the theft of Guglielmo Caccia and Piet Mondrian, which was discovered alongside the Picasso. The Caccia, unfortunately, met a fate worse than death when it was damaged during the theft and shoved down a toilet. Mondrian's Stammer Windmill (1905) and Head of a Woman were surveilled by the cunning and determined thief for six months before being stolen. The thief in question, a 49-year-old builder, recently confessed.

Head of a Woman (1939) Pablo Picasso. Courtesy National Gallery in Athens.

Art heists have three parts to them. First, scouting: monitoring the movements of the staff, noting the guards' smoke breaks, the cameras, the lasers, etc. Second, the curtains drop, the show is on, and the deed must be done. Third and final, successfully selling the stolen artwork. As recently shown in the documentary series This is a Robbery (2021), art heists are made possible by faulty security, exemplified by Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. The National Gallery of Athens suffered a similar fate, though it also helped that there was a shortage of security guards due to the worker strikes at the height of the Greek debt crisis. Let's not point fingers anymore, it's been twelve years. Lucky for the Greeks, the Picasso painting proved hard to sell on the black market, not because of the $20 million price tag attached to it but due to Picasso's personalised inscription, which read, "For the Greek people, a tribute by Picasso".

In the meantime, allow us to rejoice with shots of ouzo and celebrate as the Greeks did when they received Head of a Woman. R.I.P. Caccia's pen and ink drawing.

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Earlier this year, Peter Wegner won the Archibald Prize for Portrait of Guy Warren at 100. In the portrait, the 100-year-old artist sits with a pink sweater gracefully draped around his shoulders. While last year's portrait prize entered the world after a delay and left quietly thanks to the predicament the world found itself in, this year's prize made a giant splash in Australian waters as it marked the 100th birthday of the Archibald Portrait Prize. The New South Wales Gallery of Art gifted ticket buyers to the 2021 Archibald prize with an entry to the Archie 100, so there's a 100 years of headshots that audiences can enjoy.

The 2021 Archibald exhibition continues at the NSW Gallery of Art through October 11.

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While Australian states are quickly shutting their borders to free-roaming citizens, we've once again found ourselves locked in our homes. But we at Golem Quarterly Review don't squander any opportunity presented to us. No. We've decided to pair a cocktail or two with good read. Because, why not?

Photography by Polina Kovaleva

First presented in the Spring issue of GQR, the 'Eat, Drink & Read' menu made pairings of ingredients and literature a unique culinary experience. This week we've take a look at a new literary cocktail menu to delight your senses. Whether you sip on a Nevermore Negroni or a Glitzy Julep, there are flavours everyone (over eighteen) can enjoy. In the article, we also offer up a new cocktail: The Unordinary Wine takes a mulled wine, throws in a copy of Normal People (2020) and voila! An antidote for an aching heart. Read the full article here.

If yours is an interest in all things culinary, why not check out our other articles? In the past, we've happily and eagerly taken a political lens to the origins of Spanish gastronomy, now we've armed ourselves with a low-lit room, a comfortable couch, and a hearty appetite. Buen provecho!

To enjoy more of what's happening out there, from local to the other side of the world, enjoy these short, digestible bites in On the Nose, In the Know & Other News.



Hey. Never mind them other art and culture magazines. Dis is da stuff.

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