Art World Roundup: update on theft of “America” and the boy thrown from Tate Modern, recognition of Juneteenth and the Windrush generation, seeing “The Last Supper” in high-def, and more

Art World Roundup: update on theft of “America” and the boy thrown from Tate Modern, recognition of Juneteenth and the Windrush generation, seeing “The Last Supper” in high-def, and more
Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" in situ in Milan. Courtesy Flickr Commons.

In the artworld this week, we learned of a new monument that will recognise the Windrush generation and saw Nancy Pelosi remove portraits of Confederate House Speakers. The 18-year-old who threw a boy from a Tate Modern balcony is sentenced to jail while police have arrested one more in relation to the theft of Maurizio Cattelan’s golden loo America and Chris Burden’s estate sues an Indonesian theme park. Also in this week’s Art World Roundup, a way to (kind of) take a trip to see The Last Supper.


18-year-old sentenced to 15 years for throwing child from Tate Modern balcony

Jonty Bravery, from Northolt, has been charged with attempted murder and will serve 15 years in prison after throwing a six-year-old boy off the 10th floor balcony of London’s Tate Modern last August. The six-year-old was on holiday with his family when the tragic event happened. He fell approximately 100 feet before landing on the Tate’s fifth floor observation deck. The child survived the fall but has endured lift-altering injuries and is expected to require continuous care until at least 2022. He was transferred to a hospital in France, where he and his family live, in September. “The fear he must have experienced and the horror his parents felt are beyond imagination,” said Justice McGowan to Bravery during the sentencing hearing. “What you did on the day of this offence prove you are a grave danger to the public. You planned this and appeared to revel in the notoriety.” According to Bravery’s defense attorney, Bravery was under the care of Hammersmith and Fulham Council at the time of the attack and told his caregivers about his plan to kill a year before.

Tate Modern. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Confederate portraits removed from US Capitol building

On the eve of Juneteenth (June 19th), the anniversary of enslaved people in Texas learning of their freedom some two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that portraits of former Confederate House Speakers would be removed from the Capitol building. “There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorialising men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” Pelosi wrote in a letter. “We cannot honor men such as James Orr, who swore on the House Floor to ‘preserve and perpetuate’ slavery in order to ‘enjoy our property in peace, quiet and security,’ or Robert Hunter, who served at nearly every level of the Confederacy, including in the Confederate Provincial Congress, as Confederate Secretary of State, in the Confederate Senate and in the Confederate Army,” she continued. Portraits of Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (House Speaker from 1839 to 1841), Howell Cobb (1857 to 1859), James Lawrence Orr (1857 to 1859), and Charles Frederick Crisp (1891 to 1895) were taken down per Pelosi’s order on June 19th. Around the same time, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that the organisation was in favour of removing Confederate monuments.

Capitol Building Washington DC. Courtesy Flickr Commons.


Windrush generation to be honoured with new artwork in London

London will honour the Windrush generation with a new monument that will be placed outside of Hackney town hall. Artists Thomas J Price and Veronica Ryan will create two sculptures that, once installed next year, will be the first permanent artworks recognising the Windrush generation. “It’s not an answer to the statue conversation,” said Philip Glanville, mayor of Hackney, referencing ongoing tensions concerning statues memorialising colonialism and slavery. “But I think it’s an early down payment on righting some of that wrong, and a chance to see more diverse people represented in a public realm.” London mayor Sadiq Khan has also announced that statues and monuments throughout London public spaces will be reviewed by a improved upon by a commission.

Hackney town hall, where two statues will be placed honouring the Windrush generation. Courtesy Flickr Commons.


An up close look at The Last Supper

Although travelling is out of the question for most right now, you can still see The Last Supper like never before thanks to London’s Royal Academy and Google Arts and Culture. While there are more than 200 artworks from the RA’s collection available to see through the Google platform, the gallery’s copy of The Last Supper allows for an unique experience. Created in the early 1500s by Giampietrino, an Italian artist who studied under da Vinci, the painting has been photographed in Gigapixel using an ultra-high-resolution Google camera. Zooming in close, you’ll notice some differences between the copy and the original, the most notable of which being the medium. Where da Vinci experimented with a tempera and oil fresco style of painting, which has aged poorly, Giampietrino created his copy using traditional oil on canvas techniques. Thanks to the latter’s longevity, viewers are able to see portions of The Last Supper that are no longer visible in da Vinci’s version, which has steadily deteriorated since it was finished. So take a trip to Italy – or perhaps we should say London – this weekend and have a look around The Last Supper and other works that call the RA home.

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” in situ in Milan. Courtesy Flickr Commons.


Police arrest seventh person connected to the theft of America

While the search for America, the golden loo created by conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, continues, police have arrested a seventh person in relation to its theft. The 18-karat gold toilet was installed for an exhibition of Cattelan’s works at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. America, estimated to be worth around £4.8 million was subsequently pried from the floor, causing damage to the bathroom, and stolen last September. On June 18th, police arrested a 44-year-old man from Kent in connection to the theft following the arrest of six others who were eventually released under investigation.

Maurizio Cattelan, ‘America.’


A selfie theme park in Indonesia is being sued by Chris Burden’s estate for having copied his work

The estate of Chris Burden, the artist who created the beloved and popular installation outside the LA County Museum of Art called Urban Light (2008), is suing Rabbit Town, an Indonesian theme park and selfie museum, for allegedly having ripped off the artwork. “We are pretty confident that Rabbit Town was trying to take advantage of how well known Chris Burden’s Urban Light is and how much it has been represented in the media,” executive director of the Burden estate, Yayoi Shionoiri, told ARTnews. “To be able to protect something that an artist has put their originality, their creativity, and their name to, as well as the time and expense incurred to create a work that is something that the estate, in my opinion, has to vigorously protect.” This isn’t the first artist that the selfie tourist attraction has faced similar issues, either. In addition to Urban Light, Rabbit Town has caught flack in the past copying Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room.

‘Urban Light’, Chris Burden, 2008. Installation outside the LACMA. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.