Headlines: Grasshopper, Botero, Selfie
1) Dead Grasshopper Found in Van Gogh Painting
A dead grasshopper was found embedded in a layer of paint in a work by Vincent Van Gogh. Conservationist Mary Schafer of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas first spotted the insect body in Van Gogh's Olive Trees after examining a section of the work with a microscope. Judging from how deeply the creature was embedded in the layers of paint, Schafer concluded that the insect must have landed in the paint at the time of the work’s initial creation. Considering Van Gogh was known for his plein air works, it’s not a big surprise that a piece of the landscape would have made its way into one of his works. Senior Curator and University of Kansas paleo-entomologist Michael Engel determined after closer examination that the grasshopper had been dead for some time before making contact with the canvas.
2) Brazen Thief Makes Off With Botero Statue
In France, a thief calmly walked into a gallery and walked out with a work by Fernando Botero, in broad daylight. The bronze statue in question was reportedly valued at nearly €500,000. The Bartoux gallery, where the statue was being shown, is located on one of the most high-security streets in Paris, just a short distance from the official residence of the French President, as well as the Japanese and British embassy buildings. Security around the president’s home has been even tighter following the spate of terror attacks in the city in recent years. Apparently the unknown thief simply acted so confident in carrying the statue that no one questioned him -- staffers at the gallery did not notice the sculpture was missing until hours later when the gallery was closing.
The 2017 Deloitte Art and Finance report shows that art collectors are increasingly concerned about the lack of transparency that remains present throughout the fine art market. According to the report, 48 percent of art collectors say that “a lack of standards” in the art industry is a major concern. Despite this concern, the majority of artistic professionals, ranging from wealth managers and collectors to the artist’s themselves, are in favor of a self-regulated art market, separate from any government rule. The report cites a number of distinct issues, ranging from “undisclosed conflicts of interest” in art sales to uncertainties about provenance and authenticity, as major obstacles for those looking to continue doing business in the art industry.
4) A Meditation On Selfies
Finally, here’s an engrossing read about the nature of the “selfie” as a cultural phenomenon. An excerpt from an upcoming book about the selfie by Alicia Eler, the essay looks at just a few of the ways that Millenial and Gen Z artists and activists are using this very personalized mode of presentation to navigate changeable social identities and control how they are perceived by an asynchronous audience.