Banksy Migrant Boat Decried as ‘Vile,’ Louvre Accused of Copying Dance Program, St. Louis Art Center Shutters Pro-Palestinian Exhibition, and More: Morning Links for July 2, 2024 - The World News

Banksy Migrant Boat Decried as ‘Vile,’ Louvre Accused of Copying Dance Program, St. Louis Art Center Shutters Pro-Palestinian Exhibition, and More: Morning Links for July 2, 2024

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BANKSY UNDER SCRUTINY. British home secretary James Cleverly has said that a new Banksy artwork of a mock migrant boat, which was carried over the crowds at the Glastonbury music festival last weekend, is “not funny, it is vile,” and “a celebration of loss of life in the Channel.” Asked by Sky News how Cleverly could be so sure the artwork was meant to be funny, and whether it could be seen instead as commentary on his own inability to tackle the migrant situation, Cleverly evaded the question and said he was “determined” to stop migrant smugglers. He added that left-leaning politicians had hampered conservative attempts to secure UK borders, and insisted again the Banksy piece amounted to “joking about [the migrants] and celebrating,” the issue. Art is subjective, but blindness to it can also be a force of will.

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GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Lee Kiernan of IDLES performs on the Other stage during day three of Glastonbury Festival 2024 at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 28, 2024 in Glastonbury, England. Founded by Michael Eavis in 1970, Glastonbury Festival features around 3,000 performances across over 80 stages. Renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and iconic Pyramid Stage, the festival offers a diverse lineup of music and arts, embodying a spirit of community, creativity, and environmental consciousness. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Redferns)

EXHIBITION CANCELED. The St. Louis Craft Alliance art center has shut down an artist residency exhibition and fired its two participants from teaching classes after organizers accused the show of being antisemitic, reports St. Louis Public Radio. On Friday the pro-Palestinian exhibition “Planting Seeds, Sprouting Hope,” by artists Dani Collette and Allora McCullough, opened to the public, but shortly beforehand organizers had removed some pieces unbeknownst to the artists. The works removed included watermelon seed-shaped sculptures carved with the phrase “Land Back,” and title cards including the phrase, “From the River to the Sea.” Bryan Knicely, executive director of Craft Alliance, said the slogan was inciting violence, while Collette argued the phrase referred to “the positive way in which Palestinians/Gazans are using it.” By Monday, the center announced it was removing the exhibit entirely, due to “antisemitic slogan[s] and imagery” that called for “violence and the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.” McCullough called the accusations “absurd,” and said organizers should promote conversation instead. 


Richard Brauer, the founding director of the Brauer Museum of Art at Indiana’s Valparaiso University, has hit back at the institution’s controversial, stated justification for deaccessioning key artworks from its collection. In a letter, Brauer told Artnet News that the institution’s claim he inappropriately influenced the acquisition committee to purchase a Georgia O’Keeffe and a Childe Hassam painting, despite the works not fitting the original intention of their financial donor, effectively “defames me.” [Artnet News]

The National Portrait Gallery has acquired a daguerreotype of the former first lady Dolley Madison, likely taken in 1846, which will be displayed in 2026 for an exhibition celebrating the museum’s photography collection and the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  It is the earliest known photograph of an American first lady, and was purchased for $456,000, over six times its estimated price. [The New York Times]

A New York dance company has accused the Louvre in Paris of copying its traveling Museum Workout, a popular dance program by Monica Bill Barnes and Company, that debuted at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017. The company’s artistic director, Robbie Saenz de Viteri said he was “shocked,” when first discovered the striking similarities between his work, and the Louvre’s new workout, called “Courez au Louvre” [a pun meaning “run to, or in the Louvre”] which doesn’t mention the NY company. [Artnet News]

In other Louvre-related news, the museum has published a positive, end-of-year report for 2023, with an over 19.5 million euros ($20.9 million) increase in ticket sales to its Paris and Abu Dhabi locations, compared to 2022. [Le Quotidien de l’Art]

The artist June Leaf has died at age 94. The painter and sculptor explored feminine power and paved the way for later generations, working outside prevailing trends with a playful blend of expressionism and primitivism. [The New York Times]

Taiwanese artist Shi Jin-hua has died in a scooter accident at age 60, announced Mind Set Art Center, which has represented him. Jin-hua was known for his acclaimed performances, such as “pencil walking” across a large piece of paper, and was regularly featured at Art Basel Hong Kong. He also  participated in the Taipei Biennale, and the Asian Art Biennial, among others. [Taiwan News]

Reviews are in for the blockbuster Paul Gaugin exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, curated by former Louvre director Henri Loyrette, but they are mixed. The artist’s controversial depiction of “primitivist fantasies,” and his taking child brides “are handled with conspicuously light touch,” writes critic Tai Mitsuji, who adds that “curatorial texts acknowledge but do not substantively address the colonial or predatory legacies of the artist, leaving a viewer caught in the seductions of Gauguin’s paintbrush.” [The Guardian]

The 14th century Ripley Castle and estate in England is up for sale. The historic building has hosted plotters of regicide against King James I in 1605, to serving as a set location for a Disney film. Flanked by a tower, it includes several lakes, a deer park, hothouses and a kitchen. [Heritage Daily]


MUDLARKING ON THE THAMES. Lara Maiklem is a self-described “mudlark,” a centuries-old term used for impoverished Londoners who searched the banks of the Thames for items to sell. For Maiklem, however, this form of treasure hunting has become an obsession driven by a passion for archaeology and human history, which she has turned into a forthcoming book, A Mudlarking Year. On that occasion, she takes The Financial Times reporter Laura Battle down one of her favorite routes near the area where London was founded. In just a matter of steps, Maiklem manages to spot a timeline of artifacts that date back thousands of years. From some 18th century blue-patterned Chinese porcelain, medieval pottery, to Roman blackware from a cooking pot, the detritus flung into and preserved in the mud along the Thames offers its own kind of journey back in time.

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