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Climate Activists Target Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus,’ Loewe’s Next Craft Prize Set for Paris, Protestors Crash New York’s Jewish Museum, and More: Morning Links for February 14, 2024


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BOTCHED BOTTICELLI . Climate activists are continuing their greatest-hits museum tour and have  targeted   Botticelli ’s fifteenth century masterpiece  The Birth of Venus  at the  Uffizi Gallery  in Florence. This time, two activists from the group  Last Generation  stuck images of a flooded Tuscan town to the protective glass covering of Botticelli’s painting. Their curatorial choice is not lost on observers, with Botticelli’s work also depicting the subject of water, as Venus rises from the sea. Before being dragged away by police, the men told the crowd in Italian that, “the government continues to pretend that fields did not burn in January, that water will not be a problem this summer, that houses destroyed by floods are accidental events and not caused by human choices.”




ABBEY CONTEMPLATION.  Officials at London’s  Westminster Abbey  said a looted Ethiopian tablet that represents the  Ark of the Covenant  and the  Ten Commandments , which has been sealed inside the abbey’s altar since the late 19 th  century, should be returned to the  Ethiopian Church . The artifact, known as a tabot and considered sacred, was snatched by British troops during the battle of  Maqdala  in 1868, and donated to the abbey. “The Dean [ David Hoyle ] and Chapter has decided in principle that it would be appropriate to return the Ethiopian tabot … We are currently considering the best way to achieve this,” an Abbey spokesperson told  The Art Newspaper . They added the process “may take some time,” information that may ring redundant to Ethiopians, after over 150 years of waiting.




The Digest




Protestors crashed a talk at New York’s  Jewish Museum  Tuesday night, featuring Israeli artist  Zoya Cherkassky  and the museum director  James Snyder . The artist is exhibiting drawings about the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Protestors said they were “anti-Zionist Jews,” and that Cherkassky’s exhibition was “imperial propaganda,” while the museum program was a means to “manufacture consent for genocide.” [ ARTnews ]




Pope Francis  plans to visit the 60th  Venice Biennale  on April 28. It will be the 87-year-old pontiff’s first time at the biennial, and the  Holy See pavilion , located in the women’s prison at Venice’s Giudecca Island, is reportedly at the top of his bucket list. [ Artnet News ]




The works of 30 finalists for the  Loewe Foundation Craft Prize  will go on display at Paris’  Palais de Tokyo  on May 14. Many of the works were created from recycled materials, reflecting a recurring theme of “elevation and transformation of the everyday.” The winner of the prize will receive 50,000 euros. [ WWD ]




French President  Emmanuel Macron  has backed off controversial plans to remove the historic, green bookselling kiosks from the Seine River banks, in time for the  2024 Summer Games  opening ceremony, telling authorities they best adapt. The booksellers, known as “ bouquinistes ,” also peddle vintage prints and Belle Epoque posters. For months they have protested the now scrapped police order to remove some 570 stalls ahead of the opening ceremony, for security reasons. [ Le Monde ]




French dealer  Emmanuel Perrotin  has ended his secondary-market collaboration with  Tom-David Bastok  and  Dylan Lessel . In 2021 the trio opened a Paris gallery dealing in the secondary market, but following a stated mutual decision, Bastok and Lessel have purchased Perrotin’s share of that space. They also bought Perrotin’s portion of a 2022-inaugurated gallery in Dubai. [ The Art Newspaper, France ]




The  Center for Art & Advocacy  has announced the six 2024 recipients of its  Right of Return Fellowships . The 2017-founded program is the first national initiative of its kind to support previously incarcerated artists who aim to improve the justice system. [ Artforum ]




Union workers at the  Eiffel Tower  have voted to go on strike starting Feb. 19, over disagreement with the city’s financial management of the monument. [ Challenges ]




The Kicker




SOUNDS OF TRANSFORMATION . A  La Scala  concert by the  Orchestra of the Sea , is being performed on violins made from wood recovered from washed up smugglers’ boats carrying migrants to Italy. It doesn’t stop there: The luthiers who chiseled the violins, violas and cellos are inmates in Italy’s largest prison. The project called “ Metamorphosis ” is all about transformation – the wrecked migrant boats are recast into instruments, and the inmates learn a new skill and craft through a rehabilitation program. Two prisoners were able to see the orchestra’s debut concert Monday, featuring pieces by Bach and Vivaldi. The idea to use the wood from the discarded boats to make instruments originally came from inmates trained as luthiers. “We don’t know what happened to [the migrants], but we hope they survived,” said one prisoner in the program, speaking to  AP .




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Read the full Article: Climate Activists Target Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus,’ Loewe’s Next Craft Prize Set for Paris, Protestors Crash New York’s Jewish Museum, and More: Morning Links for February 14, 2024


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