Abdullah Qandeel, Jailed for Painting a Mural in Manhattan Hotel, Strikes Back

Art world bad boy/vandal Abdullah Qandeel is back. The Saudi artist has transformed his room at the Chatwal Hotel in Manhattan into an impromptu studio, painting over photographs taken from the suite’s walls, the New York Post reports.

This is not Qandeel’s first foray into hotel decorating. Last November, Qandeel was arrested and spent a night in jail after painting some murals in the penthouse suite of the 6 Columbus Hotel, also in Manhattan. But it seems that the arrest didn’t discourage the self-taught artist from doing it again.

“I was celebrating life,” he told the New York Post. “I didn’t think the hotel would find it a negative thing that I grabbed a brush and shared my positive feelings on the wall,” he said.

Qandeel’s notoriety matches his commercial succes. Last October, his painting The Enemy Within sold at Sotheby’s Doha for $209,000, ten times over its presale estimate. Notable collectors, such as the Saudi Royal family and Charles Rockefeller, have purchased his works.

“Look around. I’m only 26. Most of these motherfuckers are dead,” Qandeel said last week at an auction preview at Sotheby’s New York, referring to Keith Haring and Alexander Calder, whose works were displayed next to his piece The Race. “This will go for $1 million” he predicted of his sale.

Clearly, he’s not short of self-confidence either.

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