KAWS Paintings Stolen?

Over the weekend, local art blog Swampstyle -- an always-interesting read, by the way -- posted a somewhat shocking rumor: two paintings by graffiti bomber turned art world hotshot KAWS had been stolen from his exhibition at the Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery.

KAWS -- real name Brian Donnelly -- is that type of successful artist who inspires the chugging of Haterade: his work is entrenched in icons of popular culture, and sometimes, as with his paintings of Spongebob Squarepants, it seems that he added very little to the existing artwork. Nonetheless, with pricetags ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 per painting, Kaws may have gotten expensive enough to steal.

KAWS hasn't yet responded to Riptide's e-mails. And when we called the Emanuel Perrotin Gallery, we didn't get a confirmation of the theft, but weren't exactly discouraged from the notion either. The gallery's receptionist laughed nervously and responded with, "We don't want to comment on that right now." And the gallery's manager hasn't returned our calls because she's been entrenched in meetings all day- or so we're told.

We'll certainly keep you updated on this mystery as we find out more. In the meantime, Spongebob or Smurfs paraphernalia of any kind should be regarded with extreme suspicion.

-- Gus Garcia-Roberts

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