Artist’s Work Goes up in Smoke


     VENTURA, Calif. (CN) – An artist who gained fame for his psychedelic work in the ’60s sued a former neighbor, claiming he let a storage trailer go up in smoke with millions of dollars worth of art, including a gigantic sculpture he had been working on for 20 years.
     Kyle Lind, 72, sued Stephen Tobias Grether dba Grether-Treiberg Farm Group in Ventura County Court on March 9. He accuses Grether of violating the California Art Preservation Act, negligence, trespass to chattel and premises liability.
     The art had been stored in a trailer on Grether’s land in remote western Oregon.
     According to Fineartamerica.com, where prints of Lind’s works are on sale for more than $1,000, Lind was a member of the “Laurel Canyon Crew” of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
     The group included David Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa and other ’60s legends. Lind was married to Errol Flynn’s daughter Rory Flynn and, according to Lind, much of his inspiration came from his friend Salvador Dali. Lind practices what he calls Process Art, in which a piece is started with no particular outcome in mind.
     After making a big sale to bassist Michael Peter Balzary (Flea) of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lind moved to western Oregon. In 1990 he wound up on Grether’s land. According to the complaint, Grether owns several acres in Camarillo, where he has a residence and several storage buildings. Lind had given Grether some of his art in exchange for the right to park his truck and a 30-foot trailer on the property. He used the trailer as a studio to live and work in.
     Lind moved away, but left the trailer and it was moved around from spot to spot until it came to rest at the back of the property – a large open area used to store wooden pallets, cars and heavy equipment. In 2012, Lind says, he told Grether that he would soon return for his trailer because he was preparing a major exhibition that would take place in 2013.
     But on Jan. 23, 2013 a fire started and the wooden pallets made excellent fuel. Lind claims that Grether had several of his own cars moved out of harm’s way, but told firefighters not to worry about the rest, including Lind’s trailer. When Lind arrived two months later, he found his art had been destroyed.
     Among the losses were a 40-inch bust of Jesus Christ, original paintings, tools, clothes and artifacts, and a huge 30 x 40-foot sculpture divided into four sections that weighed more than 3,500 pounds. Lind estimates his losses at “several million dollars.”
     He is represented by Keith Rouse, of Pasadena.

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