Williamsburg art thieves make off with giant Nelson Mandela, Snoop Lion paintings

cotton candy machine gallery
Come on, these can’t be easy to hide. via Facebook

Brooklyn’s art world has been hotter than hot the past two decades, but the one thing it’s been missing is a comical, slapstick art heist. But now we’ve got one, with an almost improbable tale of thievery involving art thieves nabbing enormous paintings of Nelson Mandela, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Snoop Lion from Williamsburg art gallery Cotton Candy Machine. A suspect in possession of the ¬†5′ Basquiat painting has already been apprehended (finally get to write that phrase!), but the Snoop Lion and the Nelson Mandela paintings are still missing.

The paintings, by Amar Stewart, were stolen on Saturday night from a show at Cotton Candy Machine, by four suspects in total. According to gallery owner Sean Leonard, who relayed a story of chasing and running from one of the suspects through the streets of Williamsburg while holding a five-foot painting, one alleged thief is so far in custody and one painting has been recovered. But, the other three suspects are still at large and are presumably hiding these two giant paintings of black icons somewhere in Brooklyn.

So, if you saw men desperately trying to look casual while hauling Snoop Lion or Nelson Mandela paintings on the L train shuttle this weekend, for once, it was out of the ordinary and you should contact the NYPD with what you know. Otherwise, be on the lookout for anyone whispering, “Got that art. Got that good art,” to you while you pass them on the street.


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