TIME Starbucks

These Are the Most Beautiful, Hand-Drawn Starbucks Cups You’ll Ever See

Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte

Artist and barista Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte spends some 40 hours creating each one

Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte is an artist and barista who works at the Starbucks across from the British Museum in London. He takes the chain’s “name on a cup” policy to the extreme with custom, hand-drawn line art. Some are so intricate they take as long at 40 hours to complete. Starbucks tells Metro U.K. “it’s fantastic how he takes our iconic cup design and makes it his own.” Here are some favorites; there’s full gallery on his Facebook page.

Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte
Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte
Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte
Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte

[Metro U.K.]

TIME museums

The 5 Best Museum Heists in History

Travel Destination: Paris
Visitors take pictures of Leonardo da Vinci 'Mona Lisa' inside the Louvre museum on Feb. 28, 2014 in Paris. Christian Marquardt—Getty Images

Talk about a sinking feeling in your stomach

In honor of International Museum Day, we collected the five best museum heists in history. Just thank your lucky stars you weren’t a museum director during any of these thefts.

1) The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The United States: On March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as Boston Police officers demanded entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. They told the guard on patrol that they were responding to a disturbance, then drew him away from the alarm button and asked him to call his partner. The thieves then handcuffed both of them and threw them in the basement, where they duct-taped their hands and feet to pipes.

The bandits then stole around $500 million worth of priceless art, the largest art heist in history. Priceless works like Vermeer’s The Concert, Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and Manet’s Chez Tortoni were taken, never to be found again. Empty frames currently hang in some rooms of the Gardner museum where the paintings originally hung, and tourists visit to see the scene of the crime.

2) The Stockholm Museum, Sweden: Armed burglars stole $30 million worth of art by Renoir and Rembrandt from the Stockholm Museum on December 22, 2000. They staged two car explosions nearby to distract police, then a gunman with a semiautomatic terrorized the museum while his accomplishes grabbed a Rembrandt self-portrait and two Renoirs. Then the thieves escaped in a small boat.

3) The Kunstahl Museum, The Netherlands: Romanian gang members stole seven paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Gaugin and Monet in under three minutes from the Kunhstahl Museum in Rotterdam on October 16, 2012. The thieves got away with the artworks, worth more than $24 million, even though they tripped the small museum’s alarm system — probably because the small museum had no guards.

Last year, the mother of one of the alleged thieves claimed to have burned the paintings, perhaps to protect her son from prosecution. Olga Dogaru’s son was the alleged ringleader of the heist, and his and his accomplices had already been arrested. Dogaru first buried the paintings in different locations, then burned them so the police could never find them. The two thieves have been sentenced to 6-8 years in prison.

4) National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico: Robbers stole 140 precious objects from Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology on Christmas Eve, 1985, in the largest heist of pre-Colombian objects in history. The bandits picked a sleepy time when they knew the guards would be distracted by holiday cheer, and grabbed several gold, turquoise, and jade objects, as well as an obsidian monkey-shaped-vase worth over $20 million. Most of the stolen objects were very small and easy to transport, making them especially difficult to track down.

5) The Louvre, France: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is now the most famous painting in the Louvre, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, getting stolen might have been the best thing that ever happened to this tiny Renaissance portrait. On August 21, 1911, three Italian handymen hid in a supply closet overnight in order to sneak into the museum and steal the Mona Lisa. One of them, Vincenzo Perugia, was the man who had installed the protective glass over the Mona Lisa in the first place. The theft was all over the French newspapers, since many people feared that German or American businessmen were buying up all the good art from their museums. The painting became so famous that he couldn’t sell it without getting caught. So he hid it in the false bottom of his trunk until over two years later, when he finally tried to sell the painting. Of course, the police showed up, Perugia was arrested, and the painting was returned, more famous than ever.

TIME celebrities

Inside The Surreal World of H.R. Giger, The Maker of Alien’s Alien

Swiss surreal artist H.R. Giger died Monday at 74. The artist was famous for his nightmarish movie landscapes and creatures. See work from the man behind the creature in Ridley Scott's "Alien."


Artist Creates Crayola Crayon Sculptures of Everyone From Darth Vader to Daria

Hoang Tran

He does pop culture icons along with custom-made special requests, and they're all impressively precise

We all knew crayons could be used to draw beautiful art, but who knew crayons could also themselves be art?

Behold Wax Nostalgic, a project which features the work of artist Hoang Tran, who creates incredibly detailed sculptures made from nothing other than good old Crayola crayons.

Tran mainly takes inspiration from pop culture — he’s recreated characters from shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad along with those from movies like Star Wars and Beauty and the Beast. He also takes custom orders, which means he could totally create a sculpture of your dog (He sells his work on Etsy).

Tran emphasizes that the sculptures — even the multicolored ones — are made entirely from crayons.

“Painting would probably be a lot easier but I’m a purist and want the entire carving to be made of crayon wax,” Tran told Lost At E Minor in a recent interview. “I don’t want to reveal the exact technique but I basically melt wax from one crayon and carefully apply it drop by drop to the main crayon I’m working on.”

Here are some of our favorites:

Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran



Sotheby’s Sells Secret Miró Works for $9.3M

Miro, Sans titre Sotheby's
Sans titre by Joan Miró Estate of Diane Bouchard/Sotheby's

Sotheby's sold three previously unknown paintings after they were discovered in a vault where they had been hidden for more than 50 years

Sotheby’s sold three previously unknown works by Spanish surrealist Joan Miró this week. The paintings were discovered in a vault where they had been hidden for half a century. Miró had given them to Thomas Bouchard and his daughter Diane. Bouchard filmed Miró for his undistributed documentary Around and About Joan Miró.

The work displayed above sold for $1.3 million at the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale on Thursday, over two times its highest estimate. Another was sold for $8 million Wednesday night. Altogether, the three works sold for a total of $9.3 million.



Nazi-Era Art Collection Bequeathed to Swiss Museum

Kunstmuseum Bern
The facade of the Kunstmuseum Bern art museum is seen in the Swiss capital of Bern on May 7, 2014. Arnd Wiegmann—Reuters

Officials at the Kunstmuseum in Bern described the gift of more than 1,000 works previously considered lost or destroyed in World War II as both a "delight" and a "burden," due to its abundance of masterpieces and murky ethical implications

Cornelius Gurlitt, son of a Nazi-era art collector, bequeathed his controversial collection of modernist masterpieces to a museum in Bern, Switzerland, according to a statement from the Kunstmuseum.

The vast collection — which includes works by Picasso, Chagall and Matisse — contains some 1300 works previously thought to have been lost or destroyed in World War II, NBC reports, but which were actually hidden in an apartment and home in Austria. Matthias Frehner, director of the Kunstmuseum, released a public statement stating that a lawyer to Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on Tuesday at age 81, contacted the museum with the news that it had been listed as Gurlitt’s sole heir.

Calling it a “bolt from the blue,” museum officials expressed delight with the bequest, while acknowledging its murky legal and ethical standing. The biggest concern is whether the art was rightfully owned by the Gurlitt family or if some of the collection was stolen and sold on the black market. Potential claimants are being directed to a website should they believe that any of the works legally belong to them.

“This magnificent bequest brings with it a considerable burden of responsibility and a wealth of questions of the most difficult and sensitive kind,” the museum wrote in a public statement.




Cornelius Gurlitt, Son of Nazi-Era Art Hoarder, Dies at 81

The House Of Art Collector Cornelius Gurlitt In Salzburg
A name-plate on the door of the house of Cornelius Gurlitt which stands in the well-to-do Aigen district on November 18, 2013 in Salzburg, Austria. Joerg Koch—Getty Images

The son of a Nazi-era art collector died amid an international dispute over ownership of the priceless works

Cornelius Gurlitt, son of a Nazi-era art collector who amassed a stunning collection of modernist masterpieces, died on Tuesday at age 81, the New York Times reports.

Gurlitt died in his Munich apartment, according to his spokesman, who did not provide further details on the cause of his death. Gurlitt underwent surgery for heart problems last year.

Gurlitt’s collection of some 1,280 artworks were seized by German police last year during a tax evasion investigation. The collection includes priceless paintings and sketches by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. Much of it was classified as “degenerate” art by the Nazis.

[New York Times]

TIME celebrity

Here’s Ai Weiwei’s Selfie with Martha Stewart

The domestic arts diva met up with the artist, political activist and prolific selfie snapper during her recent trip to China

What do Martha Stewart and Elton John have in common? They’ve both taken selfies with Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, Shanghaiist notes.

Stewart traveled to China this weekend to take part in a women’s empowerment conference where she encouraged women to bake at home, Wall Street Journal reports. “I don’t see why China, with its huge population, wouldn’t have people who enjoy a cupcake,” she said during her third-ever visit to the country, where the majority of homes and apartments do not have ovens.

During the trip, she crossed paths with Weiwei, whose Instagram feed makes a strong case for the use of selfies as an art form.


TIME movies

Roger Ebert Statue Unveiled Outside Illinois Theater

Roger Ebert
A bronze statue of Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert giving his famous 'thumbs up" sign in Champaign, Ill. Thompson-McClellan / AP Photo

The film critic died in April 2013

Before the film critic Roger Ebert died last April at age 70, he did more than just review movies. One of his many triumphs was the founding of “Ebertfest,” an annual film festival for overlooked movies that takes place in Champaign, Ill.

This year, the festival has continued to go on without him — but his presence is felt in more than just spirit. On April 24 the second day of the festival’s run, a life-size bronze sculpture of the critic giving a thumbs-up sign was unveiled in front of the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, the site of the festival. Speaking to the Associated Press, Ebert’s widow Chaz described the piece, by artist Rick Harney, as interactive art, since there’s room for fans to sit down next to him. (The statue’s placement is temporary for now, but those who organized the fundraising drive that made it a reality hope that it will be installed in the same location on a permanent basis within a few months.)

The sculpture’s title is “C-U at the movies,” after his signature sign-off — and, for Ebert devotees, there’s now one particular theater where they’ll be able to see him once more.

[READ: Richard Corliss' remembrance of Roger Ebert]


Andy Warhol’s Lost Amiga Computer Art Recovered After 30 Years

See new images from the iconic artist

Cory Arcangel’s curiosity was piqued: he had just seen a YouTube clip of revered pop art icon Andy Warhol painting a digital portrait of Blondie singer Debbie Harry as part of a 1985 advertisement for the Commodore Amiga 1000. What had happened to the image, which was ostensibly Warhol’s first digital portrait? When Arcangel (also an artist) was in Pittsburgh — home of the Andy Warhol Museum — for his own show, he asked the museum’s curator Tina Kukielski if anything had ever come of the unlikely partnership.

As it turns out, something had.

Today, the Andy Warhol Museum announced that it has recovered a set of images that the pop artist created on the Commodore Amiga home computer that he was promoting in the ad campaign. The doodles and photos were the result of a commission by Commodore International hoping to demonstrate the computer’s graphic arts capabilities. The images that Warhol created — including revisiting his iconic Campbell’s soup cans, bananas and Marilyn Monroe — were then stranded on Amiga floppy disks for almost twenty years after technology progressed past the point of being able to easily retrieve them.

Together Arcangel and Kukielski approached the Warhol Museum’s chief archivist Matt Wrbican to ask for permission to search for the lost files on the floppy disks held in the archives. Wribcan joined the hunt, which soon grew to include other staff from the museum and Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Club — a group, as the Warhol Museum notes in a press release, that is known for its collection of “obsolete computer hardware” and its “prize-winning retro-computing software development.”

The club’s technical expertise paired with the museum’s collection allowed the hunt for the lost images to continue. Eventually, the team was able to safely extract the images from the disks resulting in new images for Warhol fans and art historians to appreciate while also making it possible to preserve the images for posterity. (It’s unlikely that Warhol backed up his work.)

The images that the team discovered are familiar territory for Warhol fans: There’s a colorful recreation of his world-famous Campbell’s soup can; a three-eyed adaptation of a pre-rendered version of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and a scratchy self-portrait. But he new images — as well as the YouTube advertisement that started the treasure hunt — show an established artist in a state of evolution, attempting to adapt his usual mode of creation to working with a mouse in his hand. Warhol didn’t shy away from the new technology, but instead seemed determined to master it.

As director of the Warhol Museum Eric Shiner explains, Warhol remained interested in new technology throughout his life. “Warhol saw no limits to his art practice. These computer generated images underscore his spirit of experimentation and his willingness to embrace new media.” One can only imagine what Warhol’s Instagram would have looked like.

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