Your Weekly Art News: From the Margins to the Headlines (March 5-12)

After a brief hiatus, we’re back with weekly art news from around the globe. In this week’s edition, a painting in Las Vegas so bad that it has a cult following, Jerry Saltz’s intervention at the Metropolitan Museum and more.

“The whole painting, it’s a question,” says Vickie Kelesis, the owner of this beguiling artwork and of the Las Vegas establishment, Vickie’s Diner, where it hangs like a beacon for devoted followers. The painting isn’t by anyone famous, but its inscrutability has earned it a kind of cult status: fans have their own Facebook group, and there are “self-appointed guardians who will go in and make sure it’s OK,” explains Allison Hayward, a Las Vegas–born lawyer who created the group on social media.

Image courtesy of Fans of “that painting” on Facebook

  • In order to combat “cultural segregation,” the Mona Lisa may be on the move for the first time in ages. The world’s most iconic painting has not left the Louvre since 1974. As per artnet news:

The Mona Lisa might be packing her bags. Leonardo da Vinci‘s masterwork could leave the Louvre for the first time in 44 years, French culture minister Françoise Nyssen suggested on Thursday.

Speaking to radio station Europe 1, the minister said she was “seriously considering” including the world’s most famous painting in a traveling exhibition of France’s masterpieces, and has held talks with the president of the Louvre in Paris to discuss the idea.

The Louvre, Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

  • Speaking of the Metropolitan Museum, Ai Weiwei said last week he won’t be visiting now that it charges a $25 entry fee:

The Chinese artist, who appreciated paying only a penny to enter the museum when he was an impecunious New York immigrant in the 1980s, says he won’t be visiting now that it charges out-of-towners $25. He likened the move to “taking the jacket off a poor person.” Meanwhile, artist Ross Bleckner thinks the situation is sad but inevitable. “You can only squeeze so much out of the Kochs and the Sacklers,” he says.

  • The tragedy at Grenfell Towers in London where a fire killed at least 72 people last June is being turned into a memorial, via the Guardian:

The Site of Grenfell Tower Will Be Turned Into a Memorial – Now that the local council has announced it has no plans for the site of the tragic fire, which killed at least 72 people last June, it will likely be turned into a memorial to the victims per the community’s wishes. Steve McQueen is also working on a film tribute, having filmed the ruins of the tower before it was shrouded from public view.

  • The oldest tattoo in recorded history is found on an Ancient Egyptian mummy, via the Independent:

Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest known tattoo art – hidden on an ancient Egyptian mummy which has been on public display at the British Museum for the past 100 years.

The tattoo can be seen on the mummy’s arm Trustees of the British Museum

  • Harvey Weinstein’s casting couch emerged in LA. A project by street artist Plastic Jesus who teamed up with the same artist who made sculptures of a nude Trump, Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, to turn the disgraced film producer into a pre-Oscars photo-op.

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“Casting Couch” Oscars 2018. A collaboration between @plasticjesus & @morgothlot Harvey Weinstein became an icon in the entertainment industry. His power and influence was almost without compare. However, whilst many thought the ‘casting couch’ was a thing of the past it was clearly still a part of the Hollywood culture. For many years the exploitation of many hopefuls and established names in the industry was brushed under the carpet with their complaints of harassment and sexual abuse being ignore or worse. Hopefully now in the light of recent allegations, against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up it’s act.” The life size sculpture took 2 months to produce with Ginger taking care of the head and upper body, Initially a casting was taken from a similar sized friend and then Ginger skilfully molded the face to match Weinstein’s bloated, unshaven appearance. #oscars #academyawards #metoo #weinstein #sexassault #harrasment #hollywood #streetart #oscars2018 Special Thanks for your generous donation and making this year's Oscars statue happen: Mark & Dianne Weisberg, Mary Ripley, Lizbeth Cuadras, Dr E.W., Simon Kenney, Aaron Von Ossko, Melissa Higdon, Frank Albinder, Mike Wynn, Matty Mo, Robert Ulrich, Jess McBride, Jason Van Ostrander, Agnieszka Enchev, Jon Stern, Michael Kane. Erik Johnson & @jesushands & @padhia & @simplysaraart , @missmichellefit , @savage_boy_lol_18 @pverik

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Your Weekly Art News: From the Margins to the Headlines by Dorian Batycka (Associate Editor, D/Railed Contemporary Art Mag)

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