Art News: Chicago’s Picasso Turns 50, Virtual Van Gogh Exhibition, Met Open Access Success

The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines.

Picasso’s Chicago Sculpture Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Picasso sculpture in Chicago. (Photo by Phil Roeder. Some rights reserved)

August marks the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of a 50-foot-tall sculpture designed by Pablo Picasso in Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

Architectural Digest notes that the 160-ton sculpture cost more than $350,000 to build, but Picasso refused to be paid for it, instead donating the artwork to the city as a gift.

Despite five decades of contemplation, most Windy City residents are still puzzled as to what the sculpture is portraying and the meaning behind it. Locals refer to the unnamed sculpture as simply “The Picasso.” Some see a horse’s head, a monkey, or an insect, but several art historians say it was inspired by Lydia Sylvette Davis (Lydia Corbett), a French woman Picasso befriended in 1953.


Virtual Exhibition Reunites Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

“Sunflowers” (1888), Vincent van Gogh. Oil on canvas, 92.1 x 73 cm. Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1924 NG3863 (Image courtesy of the National Gallery)

The National Gallery is reuniting five Vincent van Gogh Sunflower paintings in a “virtual exhibition” held Monday, August 14 on Facebook.

A story from the Telegraph reports that, for more than a century, no curator has assembled Van Gogh’s five Sunflower paintings in one place. The works rarely travel for conservation reasons and out of personal importance to the owners.

The National Gallery will host a Facebook Live event that will bring the paintings into one presentation. The gallery’s deputy director claims this will likely be the only opportunity people will have to view the artworks together. Curators will give a 15-minute tour of each work before moving on to the next gallery. The presentation will begin at 12:50 p.m. Eastern time.

The five Sunflower paintings reside separately in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Germany, and the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art in Tokyo.


The Met Sees Success With Open Access Policy

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Photo by Monica Arellano-Ongpin)

The impact of the Metropolitan Museum of Art releasing high-resolution imagery of its 375,000-plus public-domain works is exceeding expectations.

ArtNet News reports that, since the Met announced the release of the images in February, sites like Wikimedia and Creative Commons have seen significant increases in activity. For instance, there has been a 500 percent increase in new Wikipedia articles featuring photographs from the Met’s collection. All art lovers can access the Met’s Open Access photographs for scholarly and commercial purposes.

Among the developments are two Twitter feeds dedicated to adding some humor and creativity to the released works. The first, Public Domain Cut-Up, mixes the Met’s images with those of the New York Public Library, while the second, Face-Swap the Met, creates amusing images by switching the faces of the subjects in the images.

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One Response to Art News: Chicago’s Picasso Turns 50, Virtual Van Gogh Exhibition, Met Open Access Success

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