New Banksy’s Artwork Exhibited in Venice

Banksy shows off new artwork of giant cruise ship in the middle of Venice.

By Reuters

Banksy has released a video on social media of some new artwork in Venice, Italy.

The street artist wrote that he set up a stall in Venice during the Biennale, which is a very important yearly art show.

It’s been titled ‘Venice in Oil’.

Banksy’s artwork has appeared in the middle of the city where he highlighted the ongoing issue of big cruise ships docking in the canals in Venice.

Cat looking at the title of Banksy's new artwork - 'Venice in Oil'.

The artwork shows a large ship floating in the city’s Grand Canal surrounded by men on gondolas.

Local police eventually moved Banksy and the artwork away from the city’s iconic St Mark’s Square.

Banksy is known for making controversial works of art that leave many people talking about lots of different issues that the famous artist thinks are important.

Who is Banksy?
Graffiti of Banksy's name.

Banksy’s real identity is a secret so no-one actually knows who he or she is.

The street artist produces pieces of work, which pop up in public places, such as on the walls of buildings.

A lot of Banksy’s art is done in a particular style which people can easily recognise.

Banksy quickly became well known as an artist who would poke fun at big companies and send political messages through his work.

Source: BBC Newsround

Leonardo da Vinci’s anniversary marred by French-Italian diplomacy dispute

People visiting the Louvre in Paris take pictures of the portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Italy has accused France of trying to take centre stage in the commemorations of Leonardo da Vinci. Photograph: Loïc Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Events to commemorate Leonardo da Vinci will take place in France and Italy on Thursday, the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, hosting his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella.

The two heads of state will meet at Amboise in the Indre-et-Loire region to visit the Château du Clos Lucé, where Da Vinci lived from the autumn of 1516 until his death in 1519.

Among the works brought to Clos Lucé from Italy by the Renaissance master were Mona Lisa, St John the Baptist and the Virgin and Child with St Anne. He is believed to have worked further on some or all of them at the château. All three paintings are displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Macron extended the invitation to Mattarella in February as a way to help ease the diplomatic tensions that had escalated between the two countries.

Da Vinci commemorations were also dragged into the spat – which mostly centred around immigration – after Lucia Borgonzoni, an undersecretary at Italy’s ministry of culture, accused France of trying to take centre stage and suggested the Italian government would cancel the loans of some of the artist’s paintings to the Louvre.

To drive home her point, Borgonzoni said: “Leonardo is Italian, he only died in France.”

The Louvre, which holds five of only 14 paintings attributed to Da Vinci, had sought from Italy some works considered robust enough to travel for a show that will open in October. In return, the Louvre was to lend certain Raphael works to Italy for an exhibition next year. It is unclear how the matter was resolved, but Borgonzoni told reporters in February that the countries’ culture ministries were working towards a more “balanced” agreement.

After a lunch at Clos Lucé, Macron and Mattarella will travel to the Château de Chambord where 500 French and Italian youngsters will take part in a series of workshops on the themes of architecture, literature and the sciences to celebrate the Renaissance.

Macron will be accompanied by his wife Brigitte and the French culture minister, Franck Riester.

More than 300 police and gendarmes have been drafted into the town of 13,000 people on the southern banks of the Loire River for the presidential visit.

The visit comes after the disappearance from public view of one of Da Vinci’s most celebrated – and expensive – works, Salvator Mundi.

The Louvre had hoped to have the painting – sold for a record-breaking $450m at auction in New York in November 2017 – on display at its Da Vinci exhibition later this year.

But since the sale, the painting, thought to have been bought by a member of the Saudi royal family, has not been seen. It was to have been unveiled at the Louvre Abu Dhabi last September, but the ceremony was cancelled.

A request from the Louvre Paris to borrow the work for the Da Vinci exhibition has not been answered. “The Louvre asked the Abu Dhabi department of culture and tourism for the loan. We still haven’t had a response,” a spokesperson for the Paris museum told AFP.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the mystery buyer was the Saudi prince Badr bin Abdullah, the country’s culture minister, acting on behalf of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, who has refused to confirm whether he bought the painting.

Meanwhile in Italy, several events marking the year-long celebrations, including the first presentation of a lock of hair that experts say could belong to the artistic genius, begin on Thursday.

In Vinci, the small Tuscan town where Da Vinci was born, the hair lock will be presented during a press conference at Leonardiana library on Thursday morning, before going on display at the town’s Ideale Leonardo da Vinci Museum. The historians behind the discovery, Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato, will soon begin DNA tests on the hair strand, which has previously been hidden away in a private collection in the US.

But while plenty of other events are planned elsewhere across the country, the diplomatic row has cast a shadow over the commemorations.

Barbara Agosti, art history professor at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome and a member of the committee overseeing the celebrations, said there should have been more cooperation with France.

She said: “There hasn’t been the political intelligence to coordinate this situation in a constructive way, for the benefit of Leonardo.

“There is no doubt that France has been better organised; it seems as if Leonardo the painter is being celebrated by the Louvre but not so much by Italy. Certain decisions created a mess, it was badly managed from the beginning and now we are seeing the effects on the Leonardo commemorations. Next it will be Raphael.”

This article was amended on 2 May 2019 to qualify an assertion that three major works by Da Vinci – Mona Lisa, St John the Baptist and the Virgin and Child with St Anne – were entirely painted at Clos Lucé. Da Vinci lived at the château from late 1516, not March 1516.

Source: The Guardian

Leonardo da Vinci’s Works for 500th Anniversary Shown in Italian Museums

The Louvre Museum’s much-hyped Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which opens in October, is expected to outshine other events to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death this year.

But three lesser-known Italian museums have snagged two prized da Vinci paintings from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Hermitage will lend a “Madonna and Child” painting known as the Benois Madonna to a municipal museum in Fabriano, a medieval town in the Marche region, to coincide with a Unesco conference in June. After being on view for a month there, the painting will be exhibited for most of July at the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia. (That stop came in exchange for a work by Piero della Francesca lent to the Hermitage for a show earlier this year.)

The Hermitage will lend another painting, known as the Litta Madonna, to the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan, to be the centerpiece of a show on da Vinci’s Milanese circle that will open in November.

Source: The New York Times

Kenyan artist Khadambi Asalache’s South London house turned into a museum


The interiors are covered in intricate wooden carvings bearing Islamic, African and English influences, and produced entirely by hand by the building’s former owner – the writer and civil servant, Khadambi Asalache.

Born in Kenya, the son of a chief, Asalache studied architecture in Nairobi, and art in Rome, Geneva and Vienna. He produced poetry and novels, and – after a spell with BBC Africa – took a job at the Treasury in London. In 1981, he moved into a dilapidated house at 575 Wandsworth Road, BBC News reported.

Confronted with a damp patch that resisted treatment, he opted to cover it instead, producing the first of his wooden carvings. Twenty years later, he was still at work.

Landing of Asalache house


The house has just become London’s newest museum, managed by the conservation charity, the National Trust. “I think the house really stands for the power of human endeavour, and for what can be created with time and dedication and love,” the Trust’s Laura Hussey told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

Close-up of fretwork


The raw material for the carvings was typically salvaged from rubbish dumps. Asalache used a fretsaw to give new life to discarded doors and boxes.


Inside the house are souvenirs from Asalache’s foreign travels…

Mantelpiece, Asalache house


… and memories of trips closer to home, to the theatre.

Bathtub, Asalache house


There is even a collection of English pottery.



Asalache died in 2006. He left his house to the National Trust but left no explanation of his motives as an artist. And so behind the ordinary exterior of 575 Wandsworth Road…

Khadambi Asalache's house - seen from the street

… the extraordinary world of Khadambi Asalache lives on, awaiting interpretation.

Khadambi Asalache
Pictures supplied by the National Trust and by the BBC’s Janet Ball.

US museums still fail to considerably diversify the artists they exhibit.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

 The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

In an extensive report from Williams College, researchers found that the collections of major American institutions are both 85% white and 87% male. Data was taken from 18 major US museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and then 10,000 artist records were analysed for demographic analysis.

The research was headed up by Chad Topaz, a professor of mathematics, who calls it “the first large-scale study of the diversity of artists held in the collections of major art museums”.

After white men, the largest groups were white women at 10.8%, Asian men at 7.5% and Hispanic men at 2.6%. Some institutions were marked outliers, including Atlanta’s High Museum of Art where 10.6% of artists are black compared with 1.2% across all recorded. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art all boasted the highest percentages of female artists.

“There have been some reactions that have said, ‘Oh, well, of course museum collections aren’t diverse. Of course they’re all dead white men.’ But you can’t say ‘of course’,” said Kevin M Murphy, Williams College’s senior curator of American and European art. “If you’re going to create a strategy around collecting, you really need to quantify where gaps are and where significant gaps are [as well as] think about your own community and those specific gaps, and build strategies from there.”

Earlier this year, results from a study conducted by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation showed that improvement had been made in the diversity of staff. Out of 30,000 museum employees from 332 museums, the percentage of people of colour had grown 9% since 2015 and the percentage of women in leadership positions rose to 62% from 57%.

Source: The Guardian

Is it a real Banksy or a copyist?

Banksy-style street art in Portstewart

The piece of street art appeared in Portstewart, a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Portstewart’s newest graffiti depicts a young boy crouching with his hands over his eyes.

Michael Hughes, owner of the Portstewart Galleries, said he was alerted to the new ‘Banksy’ when people started to appear in the gallery asking: “Is it real?”

Mr Hughes took it upon himself to see this so-called Banksy for himself – and while he “doesn’t know whether it’s a Banksy or not” he said it’s a nice piece of art regardless.

Indeed, this is not the first Banksy-like street art to appear in Portstewart. Only a few metres before the cliff walk, there’s another piece of a child cowering.

Banksy-style street art in Portstewart

Other social media posts of these pieces in Portstewart date back as far as 2014.

Julie-Anne Richmond, a local artist, said there are some important signatures to look out for if it was a Banksy.

“If you look at a lot of his other work it doesn’t include the feet,” she said.

“On this piece, the blacks aren’t as full, perhaps. But it’s similar to some of the pieces he’s done of the children.”

She too thinks it is a nice piece of work, even if she does not believe it is a Banksy.

Woman looking at Banksy mural

“People who don’t know anything about art or who haven’t got an interest in art, they’ve heard the buzz and they want to know who Banksy is,” she said.

“People who normally don’t bother with galleries or art work are now thinking, ‘I want in on this action’.”

Whether or not it is a Banksy hardly matters if it brings people into the town, said Mr Stewart.

“Americans who were doing the Game of Thrones tour were close by and they searched towns in their surrounding area and the first thing that came up was ‘Portstewart’ and ‘Banksy’.

Julie-Anne Richmond, a local artist.

“It’s good for traders,” he said.

But Francis Scullion, owner of Cochrane’s Footwear in Portstewart, said that while the new art has created a bit of buzz, it is hard to tell whether it brings more business to the town.

Walking down the stone steps back towards the promenade, Mr Hughes said he hopes the art is maintained.

“There’s a clear groundswell of opinion in the town that the council should put something over this to protect it,” said Mr Hughes.

A spokeswoman for the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said that the council has “received no correspondence in relation to this matter”.

Michael Hughes, owner of Portstewart Galleries
Image caption Michael Hughes said if Banksy ever comes to Portstewart that he could use his shutter to paint on

If Banksy were to visit Northern Ireland, Mrs Richmond said she would be intrigued to see his take on the political situation here.

“Banksy has no fear and no qualms about speaking about his political views,” she said.

In fact, Mr Hughes said he would welcome Banksy to Portstewart himself.

“Would he please put something on the shutter of my gallery? Please feel free to use that.

“I’d get something like £3.4m for a shutter like that,” he said.

Source: BBC News


There’s no screaming in Munch’s The Scream

Edvard Munch's Scream at the British Museum

Is it a man hearing a scream after all? CREDIT: KIRSTY O’CONNOR/PA

Munch’s most famous artwork depicts a person hearing a ‘scream’ and not, as many people continue to assume and debate, a person screaming, the British Museum states.

This rare version of the Scream being displayed at the British Museum to them makes it  clear that, since the lithograph in black and white, unlike the coloured works, features an inscription by Munch that reads: “I felt the great scream throughout nature.”

It is a reference to his inspiration for the painting. Munch was walking by a fjord overlooking Oslo in 1892 when the sky turned blood red, a sight that had a profound effect upon him.

“Munch very deliberately included the caption on this version to describe how his inspiration came from the anxiety he suddenly felt,” said Giulia Bartrum, curator of a exhibition devoted to the Norwegian artist.

“He was trying to capture an emotion or moment in time. Through the inscription we know how he felt. People think this is a screaming person but that’s not what is going on,” Bartrum added.

Gallery technicians install the lithograph

Gallery technicians install the lithograph CREDIT: KIRSTY O’CONNOR/PA WIRE

“It is a man hearing, whether in his head or not. He feels the sensation of nature screaming all around him.

“I have no doubt that this iconic figure is reacting to nature’s external forces on that hillside. What can still be debated is whether, for Munch, those forces were real or psychological.”

The issue of whether the figure is screaming or listening has been alive for decades. The former director of the Munch Museum in Oslo, Gunnar Soerensen, has said: “It could be a scream in nature or a person screaming. It is a question of interpretation.”

Munch's note
Munch’s note: ‘I felt the great scream throughout nature’ CREDIT: KIRSTY O’CONNOR/PA WIRE


But Mr Soerensen’s successor, Stein Olav Henrichsen, said the British Museum has it right. “There are lots of comments on this work, but we have Munch’s own words and this is someone covering their ears as they hear nature screaming.

“But we do not mind at all if people interpret it in different ways. During the Cold War, Time magazine put the Scream on the front page as a comment on the era and the atomic bomb.

“We have heard that some English people are using it for Brexit. People can interpret and enjoy art in different ways,” he told the Telegraph.

Edvard Munch's Scream
The colour versions of the painting are the most well-known CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Edvard Munch: love and angst, which runs at the British Museum from April 11 – July 21, will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s prints in the UK for 45 years. It includes nearly 50 loans from the Munch Museum.

The Scream is the highlight – the black and white print was disseminated widely in Munch’s lifetime and made him famous. The monochrome treatment emphasises the wavy lines in the sky that “give the sensation of a tuning fork resonating around the figure”, Ms Bartrum said. “When you look at it, you can almost hear a sound.”

The Scream is one of the most recognisable artworks in the world because it has “a simplicity and an immediate impact for everybody, wherever you come from,” she added.

Source: The Telegraph


Artist Benjamin Von Wong shows true cost of plastic to our planet

In order to highlight the environmental cost of our love affair with plastic, artist Benjamin Von Wong used 18,000 disposable plastic cups, collected from 24 local food centres in Singapore, over just a day and a half, to create a ‘cave’ which people can walk through.

On his blog, Von Wong explains how he and his team collected the cups, washed them, mounted them on a wooden structure, melted and fused them together and then adorned them with pulsing LED fairy lights, to create “the effect of a glowing Earth surrounded by a sea of plastics… a shiny crystal cave”. He says this was done “in the hopes of luring unsuspecting passersby with the promise of a pretty selfie, only to to be overcome by a feeling of ‘Plastikophobia’ – an extreme aversion to single-use plastics”. It took the artist, strategist Laura Francois, fabricator Joshua Goh and almost a hundred volunteers, 10 days to create the cave.

Plastikophobia Von Wong Cup Cl...

Ben and his team collected and cleaned 18,000 single-use cups to create the artwork

A series of images, including the illusion of a swimmer inside an ocean filled with plastics, shows how the artist has created this unsettling spectacle. In his words, the installation is a visually-stunning “Instagram trap” but also a stark demonstration of the volume of waste produced by a relatively small amount of people, over a short timeframe.


Speaking in a video about the creation of the installation, he says: “Three days before the deadline, I felt the installation was too pretty. In my mind, 18,000 single-use plastic cups shouldn’t feel pretty. But I was wrong. Plastic is actually beautiful, while plastic pollution is not.”


The artist explains: “What we’ve really done here is extend the life of 18,000 cups from approximately six minutes to a little over six weeks by building an immersive experience. An art installation that we hope encourages everyone to be just a little bit more plastikophobic.”


Speaking to BBC Three about the impact of seeing the scale of plastic use at such close quarters, the artist said: “In many ways I expected the volume… what I wasn’t expecting was the realisation that all these cups could have been avoided if reusable cups were available. These are cups that are designed to be taken out but end up being consumed in a dine-in setting. In many ways, they represent a massive opportunity for food courts all around the world to reconsider their options.


“Simultaneously, I think it’s interesting to do a little bit of math on our impact as individuals. If the average person lives 30,000 days and consumes only one drink a day, imagine how many cups we could avoid consuming if we just carried a cup around with us?”

Plastikophobia Von Wong Instal...PLASTIKOPHOBIA / VON WONG

This isn’t the artist’s first work addressing plastics: earlier this year he created The Parting of the Plastic Sea, an installation made from 168,000 used plastic straws. In 2016, he created Mermaid on 10,000 Plastic Bottles – a self-explanatory piece which used the hashtag #mermaidshateplastic.


The use of plastic has been in the news again recently with Coca-Cola announcing its footprint for the first time: the company revealed it had used three million tonnes of plastic packaging in one year. In February, Glastonbury Festival announced it was banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles – in 2017, the last time the event took place, 1.3m of them were sold to festival-goers.


The issue was given prominence in 2017 when it was highlighted in the finale to Blue Planet II, with David Attenborough saying: “We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet? The future of humanity, and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.”

Plastikophobia Von Wong

Von Wong’s plastic cave is on display at a gallery in Singapore until 18 April. “There are so many tragic photographs of plastic pollution online that I feel like most people have been desensitised to the problem,” he told BBC Three.

“My idea behind these images is to stop people in their tracks, get them to look twice. As they read the description to understand what they’re looking at they can then learn why the images exist. In essence, the hope is to reach a new audience, one that perhaps wouldn’t normally look at something related to sustainability and the environment,” concluded the artist.

Source: BBC News