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Sitdown Sunday: In search of the disappearing art dealer

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Shutterstock/Pla2na

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Trapped with tormenters

Noteworthy has produced a two-part investigation into how services for domestic abuse survivors are dangerously underfunded during the coronavirus crisis.

(Noteworthy Part 1 and Part 2)

Trapped at home in lockdown, one caller to Women’s Aid said there was no escape from her abuser, so she had to ring their helpline from the car. “I feel like I’m having a breakdown here, I feel constantly suffocated,” she told the helpline. “He’s watching me from the porch right now.” The coronavirus crisis is throwing up many distressing stories similar to that caller’s, says Gillian Dennehy, services manager with Women’s Aid. “Women are being spat at in the face by abusers claiming they have Covid-19. We are hearing of ex-partners where the abuse has gotten worse and access to the children is being used as a tool of abuse.”

2. Never Trump

A look at Trump and whether the coronavirus crisis could lead to his downfall – by examining ‘never trumpers’ like Sarah Longwell, conservatives who are anti-Trump.

(The New Yorker, approx 29 mins reading time)

To Donald Trump, the members of this small but highly visible resistance are his real enemy, even more than the opposition party. He often tweets his contempt; one day last fall, he described them as politically weakened and “on respirators,” but nonetheless “worse and more dangerous for our country” than the Democrats. Trump concluded with a furious flourish: “Watch out for them, they are human scum!”

3. Tiger King of Harlem

Antoine Yates’ roomate in his NYC apartment was called Ming. Ming was a 450-pound Siberian tiger. 

(Mel Magazine, approx 15  mins reading time)

…when NYPD officers arrived at the Drew-Hamilton public housing complex, they found 37-year-old Antoine Yates on the floor, close to the fifth-floor elevators, “lying face-up” and “screaming and crying in pain.” His right forearm had clearly been torn open by fangs and what appeared to be claw marks. There was also a long gash on his right leg; it was deep enough that it exposed the whiteness of his bone. Despite the reasonable doubts raised by the cops and EMTs, in between cries of pain, Yates continued to offer the same lie as the anonymous 911 callers: He’d been bitten by a brown-and-white pit bull.

4. In search of the disappearing art dealer

The curious story of Inigo Philbrick, a young Mayfair art dealer who sold great masterpieces, and then disappeared.

(GQ, approx 30 mins reading time)

A suave American with strawberry-blond curls, Philbrick was an art world prodigy. At just 32, he had opened galleries in London’s Mayfair and Miami’s Design District and built a roster of high-profile clients. Philbrick regularly advised FAP on its art investments. FAP would put up most of the money, while Philbrick would identify undervalued paintings, buy them discreetly and sell them in short order to another buyer. Then they’d split the profits. (In the art world this practice, frowned upon yet widely practised, is known as “flipping”.) Stingel was one of Philbrick’s specialties.

5. The bigamist’s daughter

Robin Antalek was a child when her mother discovered that her husband was married to someone else, and had started a new family.

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(Longreads, approx 18 mins reading time)

My father hadn’t formally separated from my mother, he just stopped returning home. His presence up until then was so sporadic I never considered him part of our lives. In her eighth month my mother consulted an attorney and confessed her husband’s indiscretions. She understood bigamy to be a crime and I imagined, at just 23 years old, she had some hope that a man of the law would save her from this mess. Through a series of phone calls, to his employer, his parents, and finally her sister-in-law, she discovered he and his new wife had been fired from the company that employed them, and that there was no money, because my father gambled until love or luck ran out.

6. I lost my legs but I’m still dancing

Kat Hawkins writes about her journey as a dancer – and how she kept dancing after losing her lower legs.

(BBC, approx 20 mins reading time)

My memory of that morning flickers, like a buffering video that stops and starts, but I remember unlocking my bedroom door, pulling it open and stumbling into the corridor. The lights felt as though they were piercing straight through my head as I fell from wall to wall and eventually made it into the kitchen, where my shocked flatmates became confused as I slurred my words. “I feel really ill,” I managed to get out as I slumped down on the sofa. I didn’t know it then, but I had meningitis B, a bacterial infection that can kill in four hours.

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

This 2014 piece is about a notorious cat burglar who couldn’t escape his calling even after spending time in prison.

(Garden & Gun, approx 15 mins reading time)

The thief set the old window glass carefully against the side of the house and hoisted his body through the small hole. He had chosen only two rooms to rob. Crossing the hall into a living room, with pieces of silver on top of the baby grand and the bookshelves, could have set off the motion detectors. Still, the damage was devastating. He got the julep cups, three silver pitchers, and countless silver trays. Gone, too, were 150 pieces of Mary’s favorite flatware. Like so many Southern women
of a certain generation, Mary was deeply attached to the spoons and forks that marked her table at dinner parties and holiday gatherings. What was on your table said everything about you.

More: The best reads from every preious Sitdown Sunday>

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