Ace Museum, Explained
|Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang's Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin's Head, 2009, as installed at the former Ace Museum|
The commercial Ace Gallery gave many L.A. artists a leg-up. But as Wagley puts it, Christmas was a man who "often inspired rage in his associates." She quotes artist James Hayward: "The fact that Doug's alive is the only proof we need that the art world is a civilized place." Christmas is now facing trial on Federal charges of embezzlement.
As to the Ace Museum, it was apparently a tax-evasion scheme intended to provide cash flow for the struggling Ace Gallery and/or Christmas. Wagley quotes a May 2016 court filing by Sam Leslie, the trustee appointed oversee the Ace Gallery's umpteenth bankruptcy:
"…it appears that Christmas was seeking to present to buyers a proposal whereby they would purchase art from Ace at a reduced price and then immediately donate it to Ace Museum and claim a tax deduction for a much higher value,” Leslie reported to the court in May 2016. “As a Certified Public Accountant, I know this proposal to be contrary to tax law."
Whatever happened to the shiny Lenin head? It's now in San Antonio, where some folks don't like art about Communists. The Gao Brothers shot back an e-mail hoping that "freedom-loving Texas people will enjoy the sculpture."