~WHERE IN THE WORLD – IS ALFREDO ?
. . . the international search for ALFREDO MARTINEZ, who has been an artist-in-residence in China !! for the past several years which began last week, has been resolved. and MATT ENGER of EXPLODING SKY – called it right !! surprise, surprise, NOT !!
the week long search for Alfredo began last Sunday Aug 8, 2010 when – JOSH HARRIS, the star of SUNDANCE winner WE LIVE IN PUBLIC – sent out an intimate mass email asking if anybody had heard from Alfredo recently . . . apparently they have been regular email correspondents, and Josh had not heard from his old pal in a while. Alfredo made that huge big basement shooting gallery – equipped with real assault rifles – and a real movie props permit – to shoot them !! – featured in the film . . .
On Tuesday Aug 10, BYRON HAWES, who, the street buzz story relates as a “rich” kid with diplomatic connections who meet Alfredo in China a year or so ago – and had reportedly been his most recent collaborator and patron – and who now seems to be re-located in NYC – got in on the search . . and said he was also “a little concerned as well. . .” as he had not heard from Alfredo, either. in a long while.
Meanwhile, also on Tues Aug 10, 2010 – MATT ENGER of EXPLODING SKY – knowing Alfredo from way back – that is for at least 2 decades+ longer than Byron, and just about the same amount of time Josh has – jumped into the email game of search – with his take – the FREE ALFREDO t-shirt !!
looks like it doesn’t a take rocket science – to figure out what happened to Alfredo – already a convicted felon here in the USA for his notorious JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT scam of 2002 !! – that rocked the international art world of blue chip auction markets & “certificates of authenticity” – another story for another time !! – surprise surprise, NOT !! turns out MATT ENGER had his art world pal – down right !!
In his first email with the T-shirt image, dated Aug 10, 2010 12:16;33 PM EDT – MATT stated that “these shirts will be available on explodingskywear.com by this Sat nite Aug 14, 2010. all proceeds will be used to get Alfredo out of a Chinese Gulag (800. fine) and a ticket to the States (?). I suggest we fly him to L.A. with winter coming, it will be easier for him to survive and meet new friends.” ( I think Matt made up the gulag part ? esp the fine bit – and I’m pretty sure all proceeds will remain, LOL, at EXPLODING SKY !!
though you gotta put your hands together for Matt’s presentience – right on the mark !!)
though it took BYRON HAWES diplomatic connections to come up with the real nitty gritty.
this email from BYRON HAWES greeted me as I checked my email first thing this morning, it is dated AUGUST 12, 2010 1:28:03 AM EDT !!
“Just got off the phone with someone from the Consular Section of the US Embassy here, and they managed to locate Alfredo.
He’s been in custody here for a few weeks, and will be deported back to NYC the day after tomorrow (or thereabouts). Both the embassy and police have promised to let me know as soon as his flight arrangements have been finalized, and I will let you all know.
I spoke with Fredo, and he seems in pretty good spirits. In classic Fredo fashion he said the jail was quite comfortable, and that he has probably been eating them out of house and home. He laughed his big boisterous bear of a laugh for ages when I told him about your ‘free Alfredo’ t-shirts, Mark.” (sic) – (it was Matt who made ’em – oh well what can you do – Matt & Mark Enger – who are EXPLODING SKY – are identical twins – and its damn hard to tell anything about them apart – except that they are very touchy about their respective credits !!)
anyway – Byron concludes with “I’m going to meet him at the airport when he’s off (he apparently has no shoes, so I guess I’m going shopping). Updates forthcoming. B ”
ALFREDO MARTINEZ was profiled recently in the NEW YORK TIMES – in their big spread on EX-PATS in CHINA !!
see: ‘For Expatriates in China, Creative Lives of Plenty’ – by DAN LEVIN. Published Jan 8, 2010. THE NEW YORK TIMES
these 2 photos of ALFREDO – are in the accompanying photo ‘link’ . . .
the caption reads:
“While some expat artists find fame in China, others seek anonymity (sic). One afternoon in August 2007 the Beijing police burst into ALFREDO MARTINEZ’S hotel room, which was filled with drawings of guns and bombs, and demanded to know if he was a terrorist. The maid had found the sketches, which looked very much like blueprints, and the hotel alerted the authorities.” PHOTO BY MIKA MATTILA
“Mr. Martinez, a 6-foot-2-inch, 300 pound Brooklyn native, stood his ground. ‘You idiots,’ he said. ‘I’m an artist. Either artist me or get out.’ The men in uniform left, but Mr. Martinez, 43, did not. Today he remains in Beijing, spending time at a 24 hour Internet cafe and squatting ata friend’s countryside hut, where he assembles models of assault rifles and draws weapons on paper.” PHOTO BY SHIHO FUKADA/THE NEW YORK TIMES
so, just in case you are just joining us !!
~ here’s a brief summary of ALFREDO’S BASQUIAT CAPER !! as first reported by artnet !!
see: FBI BAGS PURPORTED BASQUIAT FORGER/6/25/02 !!
~ a quick pictorial flashback to the JOSH HARRIS / PSEUDO DOT.COM / QUIET GLORY – DAYS !!
JOSH HARRIS (center) and ALFREDO MARTINEZ (at right) – when they strode the streets of downtown NYC – as the kings – they were – of the underground art scene – supported by Josh’s multi-million dollar, as in $86 million !! – internet gold pile, (Josh founded and IPO’d – JUPITER COMMUNICATIONS – the very first internet trend tracking company – for those of you who read the business pages !!). and yes !! they ruled !! this was the start of QUIET – Josh’s million dollar Millennium party – later to become the starting point of Ondi Timoner’s Sundance winning (2009) WE LIVE IN PUBLIC. This photo footage was taken in Dec 1999 – as QUIET was just evolving from the seed of an idea, a distraction to offset Josh’s chagrin – that his girlfriend had taken off to go skiing in Aspen without him !! – to the full-blown mind-boggling party and first 24/7 live streaming surveillance internet all-artist, as in hard-core artist, not Bravo baby-steps artist !! – ‘reality’ show – mother of them all !!
PHOTO COURTESY: WE LIVE IN PUBLIC
ALFREDO MARTINEZ (center) designed, built and ran – the QUIET shooting gallery featured in the film. He acquired all the legal permits to run it as a movie ‘prop’ with all the necessary safety regulations. anyone could come in and learn to shoot – assault rifles, real ones of course. under supervision, of course. and everyone did !!
PHOTO COURTESY: WE LIVE IN PUBLIC
NANCY SMITH. since people always ask me – here is the earliest photo I could find – of me – when I first hooked up with Alfredo – some time pre-1999. in the streets of Soho. I did his p.r. and helped him build his guns and papier-mached the big pieces on paper – for his early shows. I had met him at an early Mariko Mori show – and was willing to work for trade of (his) artwork – so there ya go !! the galleries would also kick in, sometimes several thousands of $$ – to make sure my organizational skills – kept the shows on track !! it was Alfredo who brought me to Josh – when Josh wanted to buy a mint condition historically important – Early American quilt for a pal’s wedding present – and the rest is history. I guess. I actually brought him a Mennonite antique wool Log Cabin quilt – from the 1880’s !! (it cost $5,000 at the time.) I even remember Josh’s first words on learning about those early American quilts – “are you telling me – this is a spiritual artifact ?” Josh was nothing – if he wasn’t a quick study !! you guys – still really haven’t caught up to him !!
(note: I’m clutching the protective pouch – of my just beginning-to-be ubiquitous 35mm camera !! which my friend Valeria – had used to take the photo.)
~and, more to the point:
below are some pix Alfredo sent me last year or so, from China. I believe they were taken in the heyday of his time with BYRON HAWES – !! though no credit was given for the photographer.