December 2022: News Roundup

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After 120 Years Apart, Two Van Gogh Masterpieces Are Reunited

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York revealed it will hold a landmark exhibition of works by Vincent van Gogh, which will be on view from 22 May until 27 August 2023. The show will include around 40 paintings and rarely-seen drawings and illustrated letters, most of which have never traveled outside of their respective collections or have never been exhibited together. It will reunite two masterworks for the first time since 1901: Wheat Field with Cypresses and The Starry Night.

Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh

Indigenous Australian Art Finally Exhibited Major Local Institutions

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has been one of the pioneering institutions, collecting art by Aboriginal artists in earnest in the 1950s, but wider interest in Indigenous art within the Australian art world didn’t pick up until the ’70s. In addition to the new temporary exhibition spaces, its sole permanent exhibition space is the new home for the Yiribana Gallery, which is dedicated solely to art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A Portrait of America’s Prison Arts Programs

Prison arts programs, like the ones portrayed in Merts’ work, have the power to dramatically enhance the quality of life for those inside correctional facilities. The sense of dehumanization only intensified when you are incarcerated. “You lose your identity, you lose your name. You effectively become a prison number.” The photographer said art helps people lay bare who they are, adding that he is fascinated by observing which subjects the incarcerated artists are drawn to. “Sometimes it’s family, and they draw portraits,” he said. “Sometimes it’s their culture or heritage, and their paintings contain cultural iconography,” Merts says many of the incarcerated artists he has observed over the years have found redemption and community through art. He wants to see more support for prison art programs and believes photography is a powerful medium through which to shape public opinion.

Photographer Peter Merts’ images of California’s Arts in Corrections program
Photographer Peter Merts’ images of California’s Arts in Corrections program

Effects of War On Young Ukrainian Artists Exposed In PinchukArtCentre Prize Exhibition

The PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, Ukraine

The PinchukArtCentre, a contemporary art venue in Kyiv, has been awarding its biannual prize to Ukrainian artists aged 35 or younger since 2009. With Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, priorities shifted and the PinchukArtCentre Prize was transformed—as reflected in the exhibition of its 18 shortlisted artists that opened on 7 December (running until 30 April). Works range from videos of tanks to musings on memory and loss and ideas for post-war reconstruction. The exhibition’s curators, Ksenia Malykh and Oleksandra Pogrebnyak tell The Art Newspaper that although they started working on the show almost a year ago, after the invasion they “paused this process because we felt a need to shift to a more activist position” of advocating for Ukraine.

Looted 300-Year-Old Indian Idols Found in Collector’s Home

A special unit of the Southern Indian state Tamil Nadu’s Police force dedicated to investigating stolen idols found three antique idols, each over 300 years old, stolen from a temple in the state’s Ulundurpettai district more than ten years ago. The art collector Shobha Durairajan, who bought the artifacts from Aparna Gallery came to the attention of the Idol Wing police after she registered them with the Archaeological Survey of India. While searching her home the officers found seven antique idols Durairajan had bought from the “master smuggler” called Deenadayalan in July 2011.

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