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Russian Arts And Cultural Events Canceled Worldwide 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted worldwide responses from the cultural, sporting, and arts fields. An increasing number of performances and cultural events put on by Russians are being canceled worldwide in response to the invasion. 

One of the biggest announcements came from the European broadcasting Union (EBU) who said that Russia would no longer be able to participate in this year’s Eurovision song contest. 

EBU, the producers of Eurovision, said the “event promoted international exchange and understanding, Russia’s inclusion could bring the annual competition into disrepute in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”

Initially, state broadcasters from countries like Iceland, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands all called for Russia to be banned from the contest, a move that was also endorsed by the UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries. 

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The Royal Opera House (ROH) has also canceled a planned residency by Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, which is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet companies in the world. 

The ROH released a statement regarding their cancellation: “A summer season of the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House had been in the final stages of planning. Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season cannot now go ahead.” The group was initially expected to put on 21 performances from July to August. 

Performances from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia have been canceled by both the Wolverhampton Grand Theater and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. 

In terms of concerts, the Munich Philharmonic has separated itself from its chief conductor, Valery Gergiev, due to his ties to Putin. Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, gave Gergiev an ultimatum that stated if he condemned Putin’s actions he would be able to maintain his position in the Philharmonic, he refused. 

“With immediate effect, there will be no further concerts by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under his [Gergiev] direction,” Reiter said. Gergiev was also dropped by his management and had several upcoming concerts canceled due to his ties to Putin.

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The Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will not be taking place as planned after Russian artists and curators themselves chose to pull out. Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, as well as curator Raimundas Malašauskas, released a statement in which they explained how they would no longer be participating. 

“There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters, when Russian protesters are getting silenced,” Savchenkov and Sukhareva said in a joint statement. 

Warner Bros, Disney, and Sony have halted the release of all new films in Russian cinemas, which means major upcoming releases such as The Batman, Turning Red, and Morbius, will not be released as scheduled. 

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

Disney said: “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia.”

The Ukranian Film Academy has also called for an international boycott of Russian cinema, including a ban on all Russian films at international festivals:

“At a time when world powers are imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the country continues to be active in the cultural field”. Any action, however, has yet to be taken.

British Museum To Display More Than 100 Unseen Works By Katsushika Hokusai 

More than 100 postcard-sized drawings by Katsushika Hokusai will be on display to the public for the first time in two centuries after being acquired by the British Museum. The museum’s director, Hartwig Fischer, claims the drawings were “remarkable and unique, the discovery alone is incredible.” 

Hokusai is most famously known for The Great Wave, one of the most recognizable and reproduced artworks of all time. He’s known for having extreme influence on 19th-century European impressionist art; Van Gough was deeply inspired by Hokusai. 

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According to the museum, at some point in the 1840s, when Hokusai would’ve been in his 80s, he began working on a new project called The Great Picture Book of Everything, in which he let his imagination run completely wild with fantastical and intricate drawings of beautiful fantasy scenes. 

The project was never published, so the drawings were simply put in a box, and have been stored away ever since. The history of these prints is rather unknown. They were once owned by Henry Vever, a Japanese art collector who died in 1942; a century after they were originally made. 

In 1948 the prints appeared at an auction in Paris, and were purchased to become a part of a private French collection, where they were eventually forgotten about. In 2019, they reappeared at a Paris auction, where the British Museum purchased them for around $270,000. 

“They were created at a time modern audiences could relate to. These drawings were created in a period of lockdown, if you will, when Japan had closed its borders for almost 200 years.”

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Fischer explained that at the time, “contact with the outside world was limited and strictly regulated and even journeys within the country required an official permit. It is a situation many of us can sympathize with.”

The drawings mainly depict  religious and mythological figures as well as animals, birds, and flowers. Alfred Haft, a project curator at the museum, said “all 103 drawings were gems, each rewarding close study, each showing us Hokusai’s lively mind and hand at work together.”

Fischer said Hokusai’s art combined “boundless invention, subtle humour and deep humanity. The museum already has one of the most comprehensive collections of Hokusai’s work outside Japan, so this is the appropriate home for the drawings in my opinion.”

Currently anyone can view the drawings on the British Museum’s website, and the actual drawings will be on display in the museum for the first time in history starting September 30th until January 2022. 

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Leonardo da Vinci

Experts Claim Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Lost Masterpiece’ Can’t Be Found Because It Never Existed

Art experts and scholars have been looking for Leonardo da Vinci’s “lost masterpiece” for years now, however, some individuals are now claiming that the search is pointless because the work doesn’t even exist. 

On October 8th the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy held a socially distanced round-table discussion with art historians Roberta Barsanti, Giancula Belli, Emanuela Ferrretti, and Cecilia Frosinini. The four historians all presented research that they claim proves the fact that da Vinci’s work is not behind a wall in Florence’s century-old town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, as previously believed. 

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These claims aren’t taken lightly either, if the historians are correct they would be disproving decades worth of research performed by Maurizio Seracini. Seracini has long advocated for high-tech scientific testing of the town hall that he believed would potentially reveal the painting. 

The painting in question is titled The Battle of Anghiari, and depicts a large battle scene that da Vinci was supposedly commissioned to paint in 1503. The historians published their own findings about the painting in an Italian language book in 2019, where they first made the shocking claim that the piece was never painted in the first place. 

They’re basing these claims on the ground that the way in which the painting was prepared would make it impossible to execute given the placement. The painting was thought to be created using a technique that involved a layer of gesso and oil, however, da Vinci couldn’t have created an image using this technique because the paint wouldn’t have held, according to the historians. Francesca Fiorani is another art historian who discussed this painting in her recent novel, The Shadow Drawing: How Science Taught Leonardo to Paint.

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“This process, which was always thought to be part of the painting, was instead meant for the preparation of the wall before the paint. Since the process to prepare the wall was not successful, Leonardo never painted on it. This means that Leonardo’s battle existed only as a cartoon, never as paint on a wall.”

The art historians also claimed at the Uffizi event that after they closely examined the traces of pigment found beneath the Palazzo Vecchio wall, they determined that a painting may have once been present there, however, it may not have even been done by da Vinci. However between 2009 and 2012, Seracini said he was able to match the same pigment to a kind of black pigment found in the Mona Lisa, one of da Vinci’s most famous paintings. 

At the Uffizi, Frosinini brought up Seracini’s findings and rebounded by stating that the specific pigment found was used widely around Italy especially during that time period, making it impossible to accurately trace if the pigment was attached to the lost painting or not.

As of right now, the only existing evidence of what The Battle of Anghiari may have looked like as a mural is a full-scale cartoon made by da Vinci himself that was made in the late 15th century. While there is little to no evidence that this painting ever actually existed, art historians are likely to continue to search for it, as it’s regarded as one of the greatest art mysteries of all time.

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum Finalizing Depot Project With Over 150,000 Exhibits

Smack in the middle of Rotterdam is a structure that curves over 120 feet in the air and reflects the clouds through its walls of mirrored glass. The Boijmans Van Beuningen museum now has a new open storage extension that will contain collections of over 150,000 objects from a wide variety of collections. 

Art handlers are projected to begin moving pieces from the museum’s archives in December of this year, and it will open fully to the public late 2021. The building was originally a massive warehouse, but thanks to the Dutch design firm MVRDV, it has been transformed into a structure that staff are referring to as The Depot. 

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Instead of keeping their most valuable jewels and pieces behind closed doors, the museum invested $50 million into an “open storage” concept with the Depot, which is an extension of the museum itself. The museum can currently only display about 8% of the pieces that the Boijmans museum has collected throughout the years, so the whole point of the Depot is to give museum goers the opportunity to see how vast that entire collection actually is. 

This is one of the first times in history that a museum will be building an open-storage facility to this degree. Sjarel Ex is the Boijman’s director who recently spoke with the press about how after a flood in 2013, his team knew they needed to make a change in how they stored and displayed the works that they’ve collected. 

“What’s the English expression – ‘out of sight, out of mind’? So much of what museums do happens in the dark. We wanted to bring some of it into the light.”

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Winy Maas is one of the main architects who’s been working tirelessly on the Depot and explained how difficult it’s been to create “vault-like conditions” in a regular public building structure. The structure also had to be divided into five different “climate zones” with various temperature settings, as certain pieces of art need to be stored in specific conditions to maintain their beauty. 

Museums in the past have done expansion projects such as this one and the main issue has always been the amount of space they take up. The concern is over how much more certain museum collections will continue to expand. 150,000 pieces of art seems like an unfathomable amount, but considering the museum has been around since 1935, it makes sense that they would’ve curated that many works, so what will happen within the next decade when that collection expands even further?

Ex is aware that this project is very experimental, and with that comes the risk of failure, however, he seems more enthusiastic than concerned when it comes to the opening. Regardless, the project marks a monumental transition for the way humans experience history and culture at these establishments. Museums all over the country are beginning to work on projects that will expand their retail space and allow for even more collections of art to be displayed to the public. 

The redeveloped Museum of Modern Art in New York City now allows for an additional 15,000 square feet of gallery space that extends on six floors. The V&A announced an open-storage project that will open in London in 2023 and allow for over 250,000 pieces of art to be displayed throughout. For now, only time will tell how successful these massive expansion projects actually are.

Gallery Wall

Creative Home Projects to Personalize Your Space In Lockdown

With all of us enduring the coronavirus pandemic and remaining under lockdown until further notice, many of us are running out of things to do in our spare time to keep us entertained. Doing home improvement projects or switching up the interior design of some of the spaces in your home can be a great way to not only distract yourself from the world, but also revamp up the space you’ve been forced to stay in for the past few months. 

When we think of home improvement or interior design, we often imagine that growing list of things that needs fixing throughout our houses, however, what about projects that are more fun and don’t really have a beneficial purpose beyond just making you happy? Your home is yours, so it should reflect that! Here are home project ideas to make your space really feel like home:

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Create An Accent Wall: An accent wall is typically one specific wall in a room, often the bedroom or living room, that differs in color, pattern, texture, etc. from the other three walls in the space. Normally, people like to put a pattern on their accent wall to highlight either an entertainment center, art piece, or furniture item propped against said wall. However, there is no limit to the possibilities of things you can do for an accent wall. Use chalkboard paint so that you and your loved ones can keep changing the designs and sign each other’s names. Order various sized prints of either personal photos, pictures of people you admire, places you want to go, or whatever else you want to look at. Frame the prints and cover the wall! The possibilities are truly endless. 

Rearrange Your Bedroom or Living Room: This is one of the more basic “home improvement” options, however, if you aren’t looking to spend any money but still want a change, moving around the set up of these spaces can accomplish exactly that. I say the living room and bedroom specifically because in normal circumstances those are the spaces one spends the most time in, however, switch up all the rooms in your house if you want! Remember, there really are no rules when it comes to making your space yours (as long as you’re following your cities specific coding requirements for larger renovation projects). Keeping these areas of the home fresh and personal can help ease any anxieties you have relating to the state of the world, because at least you know you’re safe in your own personalized bubble. 

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Make a Gallery Wall: Similar to an accent wall, a gallery wall allows you to focus the attention of a space on unique art or photography pieces that either you’ve taken, or admire. This really is one of the most personal ways you can liven up your home because even if you choose art/pictures that don’t have you or your family in it, you’re still choosing pieces that resonate with you for a special reason. 

Repair and Refine Your Furniture: Things like large chairs and ottomans can be reupholstered so that you’re not losing the functionality of your pieces, but are still basically getting a whole new furniture item. Any wooden furniture that’s been scuffed, scratched, broken off, etc. can easily be sanded, re-polished, and repainted as well. 

Create a Meditative/Relaxation Space: Even if you’re not into meditation specifically as a means of unwinding, you should have a designated space in your home separated from your bedroom or living room that’s main purpose is just for you to sit back and relax. This could even be a simple garden chair and table in your side yard, the point of this place is to make you feel completely comfortable every time you enter it. Especially with the way the world looks now, it’s important that we all unplug and find time everyday to check in with ourselves, and what better way to do that then in your own meditation room? Decorate the space with stereotypical items that induce relaxation – candles, twinkly lights, blankets, soft lighting, etc. – and also with personal pieces that make you feel safe. 

Regardless of how you personalize your home, remember what it’s felt like to be stuck in that space for months at a time. The future in terms of the coronavirus pandemic is still unpredictable, so you might as well pass the time by creating spaces in your home that truly feel like yours and yours only.

Anxiety in Head

Willow Smith Explores Mental Health In Performative Exhibit, “The Anxiety”

From 9 pm on Wednesday March 11th to Thursday at 9pm the next day, Willow Smith and Tyler Cole remained within the box in the Geffen space they rented from MOCA. The exhibit was free and completely open to anyone to come and observe.

Art Museum

Virtual Museum Tours Offer A Taste Of Culture In A Time Of Quarantine

Coronavirus has caused millions worldwide to quarantine themselves, and thousands of different industries to adjust to the way they’re running their businesses in order to prevent the further spread of this novel virus. One of the most recent and significant changes the world has seen is the closing of hundreds of cultural attractions such as all Broadway productions, Disneyland, and multiple museums. While you’re on your leave from work and waiting for the world to figure out how to further stop this virus, there’s a multitude of things you can do to entertain yourself from home. 

If you’re one of the millions of individuals who had plans to visit any of these cultural landmarks within the coming months and are now disappointed that you had to postpone, have no fear, as many museums worldwide have begun, or are continuing to, offer free virtual tours through their establishments via their website for your viewing pleasure until you can safely visit them again. Here’s a list of just a few options of places you can “travel” to through your computer screen:

The British Museum in London is located in the heart of the city and holds some of the most famous mummy remains in Europe. Their virtual tour allows users online to travel through the archives and explore the historical contexts behind some of the more predominantly known pieces. 

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The Guggenheim Museum in New York is known for its iconic spiral staircase architecture and multitude of art pieces from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras. Google’s Street View lets visitors walk the staircase online and stand in front of any piece from any era that they please, all from their couch. 

Google in general is the main reason all of these virtual tours are possible. Their Arts and Culture department recently partnered with over 500 museums and galleries worldwide to deliver virtual tours that make users feel like their standing in the museums themselves. This effort was already in motion before the corona pandemic, however, now more than ever Google is emphasizing their newest feature that delivers just a taste of the culture all of these establishments have to offer. 

The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. has two major online exhibits that show off two very specific art periods. The first is an exhibit exploring how American fashion evolved between the years of 1740 and 1895. It’s focus is on the textiles used and how gendered style developed from the colonial to Revolutionary eras of history. The second focuses on a series of Baroque paintings from famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. 

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The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea gives New York City’s MoMA a true run for its money. While the museum itself obviously emphasizes more modern works to come from Korean artists, the virtual tour seamlessly incorporates historical contexts to past art influences for the more modern exhibits. 

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has quickly become one of the most popular museums on the planet. The virtual tour explores not only the many works done by Van Gogh, but also takes users through the tragedy and genius that was Van Gogh’s inner workings. The museum itself holds the largest collection of work done by the artist, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings/sketches, and over 750 personal letters. 

These examples only scratch the surface of other tours and exhibits Google has given the public access too. The ability to travel across the world to one of the most famous museums all with the click of a button is truly the definition of living in the future. So explore some of the 500+ museum and gallery options today, and go where you’ve never gone before.

Mural Art

Will 2020 See The Return of Mural Art?

Modern interior decoration has hit somewhat of a wall in terms of creativity in recent years. Gone are the days of bold geometric patterns, statement rugs and motif wallpaper that defined the aesthetic of many of the 20th century decades. The contemporary look is characterized by its minimalist features, often favoring a monochrome palette with perhaps one feature color.

Walls do little but contain a room nowadays, and it is unusual to see a particularly colourful room or feature walls. In short, the potential of walls as a creative space in both commercial and private settings is being hugely restricted, with all the effort and thought being put on furnishings and accessories to deliver the character of an inside space. There is now a need to reintroduce some old interior decoration trends, to reawaken the personality of walls, and many believe that mural art is the answer.

Mural art dates back centuries and spans cultures, but has all but disappeared from modern interior design. The modern mural is most commonly associated with street art and usually found on the exteriors of buildings, often carrying some political or social statement. However, the art of interior mural has become somewhat of a rarity in an age where simple painted walls reign, punctuated by the odd pattern-papered feature wall. When compared to the creativity and allure achieved by the likes of Keith Haring’s street pop-art or José Clemente Orozco’s sombre social realism, walls simply do not create the excitement that they once did.

While the way spaces are decorated has remained fairly static, how we choose to furnish these spaces is certainly changing. There is an emerging discrepancy between the characteristic furniture we fill rooms with and the walls that surround it. Rich, moody colour palettes accented with dark wood and metallics are trending heavily, invoking a degree of personality that is not met by your average painted wall. A detailed focal point can tie a well-furnished room together beautifully, and provide a consistent theme that can be complemented with different furniture trends as the years roll by.

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The mural is capable of fulfilling almost any creative idea, and is beginning to be embraced by a new wave of followers. With the vast possibilities of modern painting and application techniques, and more styles and artistic movements than ever to take inspiration from, the mural is reaching new heights and doing what plain paint and wallpaper cannot: delivering a unique and completely tailored look to interior spaces that truly reflect the character of the building, or its occupants. From palaces to bedrooms, mural art has redefined itself in terms of its versatility and sheer scope for artistic creativity, and it is the ultimate way to bring focus and personality to any indoor space.

Of course, being typically found in such grand locations as ocean liners and cathedrals does nothing for the mural’s opulent reputation. Many consider mural art to be the playground of the rich and famous, who can afford the time and expertise of a professional artist to personalize their walls, and this misconception is a contributing factor to the mural’s lack of real comeback. By employing the services of a live artist, they can tailor their approach to any style or budgetary requirements, using their creative versatility to deliver a unique product that meets the needs of the client. When comparing the one-off cost of hiring an artist—and all the years of experience and skill they give you for the fee—with the mass-produced vinyl wall art substitutes that saturate online stores, whose lack of durability, quality and uniqueness make for a short lifetime, real mural art emerges victorious.

Of course, the more commercial and formal settings like clubs and hotels begin to break out of their comfort zones and explore more interesting interior design ideas, the more mural art and its endless possibilities begin to be recognized. This isn’t to say that mural art is the exclusive territory of public spaces, though. Although in the past it may have been largely limited to children’s bedrooms in domestic settings, the mould most certainly needs to be broken. The boundaries currently encircling mural art need to be broken for it to be recognized as one of the most personal and expressive forms of interior decoration.

Now is the time for mural art to see a revival, by breaking free of the inaccurate associations it is often held to. Murals are no longer for the ceilings of cathedrals or the walls of stately homes, or just for telling a story or exposing societal injustice. It is a vehicle for unique characterization of indoor spaces, that reflect the people who live or visit there—a literal blank canvas, just waiting to be explored.

Art in Home

Art Is The Newest Luxury Real Estate Trend

Real estate trends change every year. As our world continues to modernize and our culture continues to advance, we notice the spaces that we find on the market are doing the same. Luxury real estate is an industry that constantly needs to be up to par with what’s considered new and exciting in the eyes of society. 

So for 2020, what’s the trend? What’s keeping luxury clients engaged and ready to invest in future properties? For Miami, the answer is art. Miami has become a major hub for artwork and culture within the past few years — after all, they already are known for their annual Art Basel festival, which is one of the most attended and prestigious art fairs in the United States.  

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2000 Ocean is one of Miami’s newest and most talked about luxury real estate developments to come out of 2019. The luxury high rise apartments are priced anywhere between $2 million to $9 million and were developed by KAR properties, one of the most notable real estate firms in the US today. Shahab Karmely is the CEO of KAR, and recently discussed 2000 Ocean and KAR’s new art curator program that they plan on implementing into their luxury properties in the new year. 

“It [the art curating program] is part of our lifestyle services offerings. Art is part of mainstream culture today and Miami is at the center. Today incorporating lifestyle factors including professionally managed art programs are necessities if you want to be in the true luxury sector,” Karmely explained

Art has often been a symbol of sophistication and culture. The simplest piece can be representational of any worldly issue or personal journey; it’s completely subjective, which is the beauty of it. Every person can interpret a piece differently, and inviting that energy into the home, one of open conversation and understanding over the creative process, is exactly what’s on trend right now. 

In a time full of disagreement and argument, politically, our world has grown to be a battle, a constant back and forth in terms of opinions. As such, adding something like art into the home that can promote a positive difference of opinions is what real estate developers want to accomplish. 

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For 2000 Ocean specifically, Art Curator Megan Kincaid is leading the effort for the new luxury apartment properties. According to Karmely, Kincaid was hired as an expert who can offer education to clients and provide them with an understanding of what it is to have beautiful art in these luxury properties. 

“[Kincaid] will organize exhibitions of modern and contemporary art for residents, curate rotating shows, lectures, and art-inspired events. Personal art exhibition outings around Miami are offered. The program is meant to enhance living through art in your home and Miami. To enjoy art, you need knowledge and appreciation. We will overcome that by educating homebuyers who may have felt art was not for them,” Karmely said. 

When it comes to “staging” a luxury property, showing it with an art piece as the focus of a particular space in that property is a marketing strategy that’s been used for years. Staging in general shows clients what a home could look like if they were to move in. When it comes to luxury properties, the goal is to not only give the space a “home-y” feel, but also an extravagant one. Art tends to always make a space feel more luxurious, as it’s mainly found in museums or in the homes of the extremely wealthy depending on the piece, so when it becomes the focal point of a room, it gives off that same effect. 

Miami is kickstarting one of 2020’s first of many real estate trends. It will be interesting to see how art in the home develops and expands throughout every tier of real estate and how the market reacts. For now, only time will tell.