Thursday’s Art Notes

BY Tom LeGro  August 25, 2011 at 11:45 AM EST

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Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel pose next to paintings at Wednesday’s preview of the Hello Kitty Art Exhibition at Tokyo’s Matsuya department store. Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno /AFP/Getty Images.

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Masked gunmen dragged Ali Ferzat, Syria’s best-known political cartoonist, from his car, beat him severely and broke both his hands as a warning to stop drawing, just days after he compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Moammar Gadhafi, via the Associated Press.

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A recent spate of high-profile thefts suggests that art crime is on the rise, via the Art Newspaper.

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The American Folk Art Museum in New York, crippled with debt, is examining different options for keeping its collection intact, via the New York Times.

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As Europe marks the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria is opening a museum in Sofia dedicated to the totalitarian past, via ArtDaily and the AP.

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Michael Showers, the actor who played the part of police Capt. John Guidry in “Treme,” HBO’s drama about life in New Orleans, was found dead in the Mississippi River, via the Los Angeles Times.