Headlines: Spring, Luna, Molesworth
1) Animal Rights Activists Call for Another Art Takedown
An artwork has been removed from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon, France, following backlash from animal rights activists on social media. The work, titled “Spring,” comprised a video depicting a row of chickens that had apparently been set on fire. Though artist Adel Abdessemed did not harm any chickens in the making of the work (he used digital special effects to create the illusion of fire), in consultation with the museum he still opted to remove the work from the ongoing exhibition, “The Antidote,” which opened March 8th. The casen calls to mind the recent controversy over the Guggenheim’s exhibition “Art and China After 1989: Theatre of The World,” which saw three works taken down following pressure from animal rights activists.
2) Late James Luna Honored in San Diego
James Luna, a noted American artist of Luiseño, Ipai, and Mexican descent, passed away suddenly early this month during a residency in New Orleans. A reporter from Hyperallergic attended Luna’s memorial, which took place on March 17th on the La Jolla Indian Reservation just outside of San Diego, California. According to the report, the memorial was attended by about 125 people, many of whom were fellow artists, curators, and collaborators. Luna will be remembered as an artist who encouraged cultural workers, as well as the general population, to critically examine stereotypical views of Native Americans and let go of long-held prejudices.
3) Controversy Continues Over Firing of MOCA LA Head Curator
The plot thickens in the ongoing controversy surrounding the firing of Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles chief curator Helen Molesworth. Since the news was announced last Thursday, many in the art world have been calling for an explanation, something more than MOCA’s immediate but somewhat fuzzy statement citing “creative differences.” Several sources indicate that prior to her firing, Molesworth was publicly critical of not only fine art museum practices in general, but of MOCA itself, making comments in talks regarding the racist and sexist attitudes that continue to -- perhaps increasingly -- pervade the world of fine art and museums.
4) Factum Arte Uses Modern Techniques to Restore Lost Artworks
This week in art and tech, a group of artists and technicians have been collaborating, using digital and forensic techniques to help restore artworks that have been lost or destroyed. The organization, called Factum Arte, has thus far recreated Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, along with paintings by Jan Vermeer and Graham Sutherland, the latter of which was a portrait of Winston Churchill that Churchill’s wife destroyed. Using 3-D scanning and imaging technology developed for medical purposes, the team has been able to use scraps of burned and damaged paintings to reconstruct pigments, textures and imagery.