Art Attack Roundup for 25 August 2014

In the world of art, as in life, there are only two kinds of news…

The Bad News

The Delaware Art Museum is selling off anything that isn’t stuck to the wall. Well, it’s not quite that bad yet. But their director, Michael Miller (who was formerly employed by DuPont and has no arts background) has decided, against all advice, to sell off several of the museum’s treasures to make good on a bad debt.  The first painting to go on the block was William Holman Hunt’s mesmerising ‘Isabella and the Pot of Basil’,(a smaller version of his 1867 original) which sold for only half its estimated price.

William Holman Hunt, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, 1868 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
William Holman Hunt, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, 1868 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)


Delaware has a wonderful collection of Pre-Raphelite works, but it seems that these are are merely potential dollar signs to a museum in sell-off mode.  They now plan to auction four more artworks, including a lovely, wistful Winslow Homer (Milking Time, 1875).

When will we stop thinking that the purpose of our art galleries (or universities, for that matter) is to turn a tidy profit? Like the NY Times says, it’s ‘like burning down your house to heat the kitchen’.

The Good News

Art is everywhere, at least if you live in the UK. The Art Everywhere project is a venture between several museums, galleries and auction houses and a whole range of corporate sponsors. Their goal is to bring art into the daily space of millions of people- where one might expect a bland car advert or perhaps an unwelcome push for home insurance, they get some of the country’s best masterworks instead.

People tweet photos of the artworks as they find them, using the hashtag #arteverywhere, and the whole thing turns into a rather cultured treasure hunt!

Like the wonderful otherworldliness of Poems on the Underground, Art Everywhere reminds people that they are human, with feelings, depths and a whole life outside their daily commute.

The other good news, also out of Britain, is that YOU CAN MOVE ROBOTS AROUND THE TATE AT NIGHT!!! We salute whoever came up with this idea, and actually managed to sell it to (desperate?) museum officials.

Actually, you missed out. It finished a week ago. But at least we can remember.

The Good/Bad News

If the Tate Bots (and you missing out on them) teaches us anything, it’s that good and bad news often come together. Heck, sometimes you can’t even tell them apart!

For example, The National Gallery is now allowing photography. The Apollo Magazine argues that clicking away actually replaces close looking and contemplating. The Independent bemoans anyone taking anything seriously ever again.

On the plus side, now you won’t get kicked out for having some fun.