“Moan-A-Lease-A”: Jasper Johns paintings held hostage

Those quotes delineate the Daily News hard copy headline [really, I must find out who writes these terrific puns!] about a fun lawsuit. Why fun? Because, as the article begins, “It’s something only New York’s megarich could squabble about.”

Here’s the essence: Henry Kravis (“the 88th-richest man in America”) and a business partner, Donald Bryant Jr. (wealth position undefined), together bought three Jasper Johns paintings back in 2008.

They made a deal: they would share the paintings — every January, the three paintings would be packed up and transported to the other guy’s digs — and both agreed to donate the paintings to the Museum of Modern Art after their deaths. Or before. Not clear. (But it is clear that Jasper Johns is also still alive. So everybody’s alive.)

But one of them has just refused to hand over the paintings and has reneged on his agreement re MoMa (very much alive and way too expensive to visit). I don’t quite understand why. When he’s dead, he can’t appreciate the art. Can he? Anyway, the paintings are being held hostage until the MoMa donation deal is re-worked.

Aside from the inherent Big Juice in this story, the online version of the story, which I link here, has an excellent and gorgeous reproduction of one of the paintings. For that alone, it’s worth the read. Go ahead. Click. You know you want to: Art collectors’ bad deal heads to court after fate of MoMA donation is threatened – NY Daily News.

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