Headlines: DNA, Gargoyles and Renoir
1) Ai Weiwei to Publish First Memoir
Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei has reportedly signed a book deal for his first memoir, to be published in 2017. The memoir will apparently double as a cultural history of China over the past century, through the lens of Ai’s personal experiences as well as the life story of his father. Both the younger and the senior Ai are known for “revolutionary activities,” and have had run-ins of varying severity with Chinese authorities. Seems like the artist will have no shortage of material to work with.
2) New Technology Could Put an End to Art Forgery
A new technology allowing artists to sign their work with unique DNA could prove to be the end of art forgery as we know it. Developed by the Global Center for Innovation at the State University of New York, the project has already reportedly received $2 million in funding from a prominent insurance company that specializes in art. The end goal of the project would be a widespread adoption of this objective authentication process in which artworks are infused with distinct molecules of synthetic DNA, allowing for proof of authenticity far more reliable than what current methods can provide.
3) Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists Appear as Church Tower Gargoyles
Two French cartoonists killed in the January 2014 shooting attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices have now been immortalized as gargoyles on a cathedral in western France. The original church façade, located in La Rochelle, dates back to the 13th century. Adding secular or purposefully bizarre elements to existing facades during church renovations is apparently a long-standing tradition in the country.
4) Protest Group Still Adamantly Hates Renoir
Following protests at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the debate over whether or not Renoir sucked at painting – and if so, just how bad he really was - rages on. While according to this interview on Dazed many art historians agree that the painter was never particularly skilled at his craft, many decades after his death he still enjoys widespread fame and recognition as one of the big names in impressionist painting. A group of hipsters who run the Instagram-based protest “movement” Renoir Sucks at Painting want the artist brought down a peg. This week, writers at The Atlantic and BoingBoing offered their takes on the situation, and why Renoir in particular has become the pariah.