Art News: Met Art Investigated, Mass. Museum Selling Art, Kurt Cobain Art Unveiled

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.


The Met Relinquishes Two Artworks for Investigation

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

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) has turned over two antiquities this month that authorities believe may have been looted.

According to ArtNet News, the most recent work of art under suspicion is a 2,300-year-old marble bull’s head. The Manhattan district attorney’s office believes the statue was stolen from a warehouse in Lebanon in the 1980s during the Lebanese Civil War. The statue has been on loan since 2010 from a couple who purchased it in 1996 for over $1 million.

The second artwork under investigation is a vase from 360 B.C. and depicts the Greek god Dionysus riding a cart. Authorities claim there is evidence the vase was looted by tomb raiders in Italy in the 1970s.

Both works were on display in the Met’s Greek and Roman galleries.


Massachusetts Museum Receives Backlash for Selling Art

The Berkshire Museum of Natural History and Art (Photo by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism)

A Massachusetts museum’s decision to sell 40 works of art is sparking a debate over whether museums should sell artwork to pay its bills.

The Washington Post reports the Berkshire Museum of Natural History and Art in Pittsfield is auctioning artwork, including two works by American illustrator Norman Rockwell, to ensure the museum can continue operating.

The American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors released a joint statement saying the sale would be an “irredeemable loss.” Other critics claim the artwork will be sold to private collectors, meaning the public will lose access to them.

Proceeds from the sales will help establish a $40 million endowment and pay for $20 million in museum renovations.


Seattle Art Fair Debuts Unseen Art by Musician Kurt Cobain

“Incesticide” by Kurt Cobain (Image courtesy of Rolling Stone)

The Seattle Art Fair unveiled artwork created by Kurt Cobain, the frontman of the grunge band Nirvana, that have been in storage since the musician’s death in 1994.

Two never-before-seen paintings by Cobain were on display from August 3 to August 6 alongside drawings and excerpts from the grunge icon’s personal journals. One of the works served as the original artwork for “Incesticide,” the band’s 1992 album of B-side tracks.

Rolling Stone gave readers a sample of the images in an exclusive article. Those who couldn’t make it to the art fair may have the opportunity to view Cobain’s artwork in a tentative touring exhibition.

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