Soup-Splashed Van Gogh Goes Back on View, Kurt Schwitters’s Merz Barn to Be Sold, and More: Morning Links for October 17, 2022

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The Headlines

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HOT TOMATO. Having recently been splashed with what appeared to be a can of Heinz tomato soup, Vincent van Gogh’s famed painting Sunflowers has officially gone back on view at London’s National GalleryBBC News reports. As ARTnews previously reported, activists with the climate change–focused group Just Stop Oil had conducted the protest , which was intended to spur the U.K. government to respond more speedily to environmental destruction. The National Gallery said on Friday, when the action happened, that the work had been unharmed. Still, however, the protest rankled many, including New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, who wrote on Twitter that it was “Taliban-like.” On Instagram, Saltz apologized for that terminology and further explained his critique. Meanwhile, on Twitter, the artist Beeple debuted what seemed to be an artwork based on the image of the protestors, who, in his hands, had clown emoji faces for heads. 

AN AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its union, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Sunday night. The day before, ARTnews reported that the 180-worker group had ended a strike that stretched on for 19 days, with the agreement expected. The action began when union workers failed to come to a consensus on a salary increase structure. At times, the strike turned ugly, with union members alleging that a Matisse blockbuster now on view to VIPs was installed by independent art handlers, whom the union labeled “scabs.” A museum spokesperson declined to comment on that allegation. Now, leadership at the PMA is attempting to start anew with the union, with Sasha Suda, the institution’s new director, optimistically telling the Philadelphia Inquirer, “This is the start of a new chapter.”

The Digest

German Dada artist Kurt Schwitters’s Merz Barn in the British village of Elterwater will be sold, despite the attempts of major living artists to save it. The structure may even get commercially developed upon its sale. [The Guardian]

Devin N. MorrisCharisse Pearlina Weston, and Jeffrey Meris have been selected as the next class of Studio Museum in Harlem artists-in-residence. Each will receive a $25,000 stipend, studio space, and more. [The New York Times]

At the Faida complex in northern Iraq, officials have unveiled a new archaeological park with 13 rock carvings that date back more than 2,700 years. Iraqi politicians are hoping the site will one day become a tourist attraction. [Agence France-Presse/Barron’s]

Paris’s Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is staging the first major museum retrospective outside Australia for the Aboriginal painter Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, whose works were “a way to transmit the Kaiadilt story to the next generations,” the show’s curator Juliette Lecorne said. [The Art Newspaper]

While Joseph Hotung is widely known as a collector of Yuan and Ming Dynasty porcelains, with the British Museum recently receiving many of them, the full depths of his holdings has never been revealed. Here’s your first look at what else the collector owns. [South China Morning Post]

The Kicker

‘LOW-EFFORT CONTENT’ was what users of the Dune subreddit labeled any art made using AI technology. That pronouncement came via an official statement made by the forum’s moderators last week. “Our team has been removing said content for a number of months on a post-by-post basis,” they wrote, “but given its continued popularity across Reddit we felt that a public announcement was justified.” If, as Dune’s author, Frank Herbert, once wrote, fear is the mind-killer, it would seem that DALL-E and the like are the creativity-killers in the eyes of the moderators. [The Guardian]


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