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Stendahl Gallery accused of ripping off artists

Harry Stendahl and Jonas Mekas in happier days

from the July 13, 2010 NY Post:

The owner of Chelsea's Stendhal Gallery swindled two famed artists to fund his extravagant lifestyle - including paying off a $90,000 bill at Cipriani Downtown, court papers claim.

The artists, "godfather of avant-garde cinema" Jonas Mekas and designer Paula Scher, charge that Harry Stendhal sold their pieces without giving them their cut and is holding millions of dollars more of their work hostage, according to lawsuits they filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The pair say that when they confronted Stendhal, he retaliated by barraging them with profanity-laced e-mails.

"Don't fuck with me - I am warning you", Stendhal allegedly sneered in one e-mail.

Mekas' suit contends that he discovered that Stendhal had given his collection of 40 film stills of Elvis Presley to Giuseppe Cipriani to pay off a $90,000 tab.

Lawyers for Stendhal declined comment.

Stendahl Gallery has had a longstanding involvement with artists from NYC avant garde circles and the Fluxus movement, organizing exhibitions not only for Mekas but also with George Maciunas, Shigeko Kubota, Hans Richter and Bill Morrison. The gallery website indicates they are closed for the summer but plan to reopen in September 2010 with a show of Maciunas.

Anyone interested in speaking with Mr. Stendahl: the gallery phone is listed as 212.366.1549. And you can always look him up on Facebook.

Harry Stendahl

Maya (sister of Harry) Stendhal, Jonas Mekas, and Paula Scher