Connoisseurs of bad art and worse restaurants will get a charge from a story in today’s Post about Nello Balan and his run-in with artist Jerome Lucani. There are so many levels of absurdity to this that it would take Nathanael West to do it justice, but let’s start with the basics: Balan, who owns restaurants catering to stodgy plutocrats, allegedly agreed to front the money for Lucani to produce hideous celebrity photomontages in exchange for a 40 percent cut on sales. Lucani claims that Balan is “keeping [his] paintings hostage” and demanded a $500,000 fee plus a 50-50 split on sales. Now that’s how you do business!
Add in some claims of physical threats, and Lucani would have done better selling his celebrity tribute images outside of Union Square Park. Watch out for Nello! Any man who can charge $750 for a Kobe steak and get away with it isn’t someone we would try to outfox to begin with.
Nello’s ‘Threat’ Over ‘Hanging’ [NYP]
Related: How a $750 Entrée Will Fill the Aching Void in Your Life [Grub Street]