Headlines: Cryptocurrency, Jesus, Sunflowers
1) Auction Houses Improving Diversty in Preview Photos
Change is coming to the outdated stock photographs that are often used by art auction houses to preview lots for sale. Photographs of works for sale often use young, female models to help viewers better observe the size and presence of an artwork. While these photos are often taken by press agencies and auction houses don’t necessarily have a say in who is pictured with the artwork, two of the world’s largest art auction houses have declared their intent to include a more diverse range of models in their press photos. Christie’s and Sotheby’s both reportedly plan to make an effort at including more diversity in their preview photos. A recent Sotheby’s auction preview in London showed works with a range of art handlers and experts.
2) The Coolest Exhibitions Happening This Summer
Planning to take a trip this summer? ArtNews offers a list of some of the most exciting exhibitions, biennales, and art events to take advantage of around the world. Among the selections are some groundbreaking solo shows and retrospectives, along with exhibitions featuring work by up-and-coming and established queer, Latinx, and African-American artists.
3) Where Art and Cryptocurrency Collide
An artist is turning digital currencies into art -- or is he turning himself into digital currency? Irish conceptual artist Kevin Abosch began thinking of himself as a commodity after selling an artwork in 2015, becoming fixated with the idea of physically becoming currency. His solution was to produce a quantity of tokens in the cryptocurrency Ethereum, the blockchain addresses of which he then had stamped using his own blood as ink. This article in the New York Times explores this, and a few of the artist’s other forays into digitization, raising some interesting questions about the point where cryptocurrency and the art market meet. There does seem to be some compelling similarity between the two -- particularly the often opaque and seemingly arbitrary system of value-assignment that powers both markets.
4) Jesus-Shaped Cake Causes Kerfuffle in Argentina
A recent exhibition by Argentinian art duo Pool y Marianela incited controversy with a life-sized cake sculpture of Jesus. In particular, some members of the public became incensed after Enrique Avogadro, Minister of Culture for Buenos Aires, was spotted partaking of the cake when the show opened at FACA, an Argentinian contemporary art fair. The exhibition, titled Kidstianism, comments on spiritual practices, with the Jesus cake serving as an analogue of sorts for the practice of transubstantiation -- that is, the Christian practice of eating bread or drinking wine as “the body of Christ.” Some members of Argentina’s large Catholic population, however, viewed the cake version as disrespectful. Pool y Marianela have been laying low since the incident, so no word on whether the Jesus cake will be coming to a gallery near you.
5) Van Gogh's Sunflowers May Degrade With Light Exposure
Finally, experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have determined that Vincent Van Gogh painted with two different yellow pigments in his famous Sunflowers, one of which is sensitive to light and may degrade into a darker brown hue over time. While the change in color is not yet visible to the naked eye, the museum is reviewing the way in which it displays the painting in order to help prevent the color decay as much as possible.