• Bernie Sanders Stars in Art History’s Greatest Artworks in New Viral Meme

    In art history courses, Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs (1965) is a staple. It is, to some degree, exactly what it sounds like—a piece of furniture rendered three different ways, as a physical object, a photograph of it, and a text with its dictionary definition. Typically, you can’t enjoy the comfort of being in Kosuth’s chair, but on Twitter, in one viral post from yesterday, the work finally got an unexpected sitter: Bernie Sanders. No, the beloved Vermont senator had not actually paid a visit to museum to commune with a landmark artwork. Instead, his image had been Photoshopped in, thanks to the art writer Maura Callahan, who pulled a now-famous photograph of Sanders from Wednesday’s Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., and lent it a new context. That picture features Sanders all bundled up, with his legs crossed, a mask on his face, and a pair of fuzzy mittens on his hands. It makes Kosuth’s work—a masterpiece of chilly Conceptualism—seem oddly fun. The Sanders meme that has dominated social media over the past 24 hours came in many forms, not all of which alluded to art history. There was the Democratic Socialist inset in a still from Hustlers, where he appears to be cradled by Jennifer Lopez, herself an Inauguration Day performer. There was Sanders alongside Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise, Sanders in the background of a sequence from Boogie Nights, Sanders joining a blindfolded Sandra Bullock for a boat ride in Bird Box, Sanders riding the MTA, Sanders sandwiched between Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith during an episode of Red Table Talk. In one meta gesture, there was even Sanders within the Distracted Boyfriend meme. But it is the art history versions of the latest Sanders meme—he has been a social media sensation before—that appear to have made a mark. Museums were quick to get in on the action yesterday. The Phillips Collection, for example, tweeted a group of crudely edited images featuring Sanders—in the center of a gallery filled with Rothkos in one, attending Renoir’s famed boating party luncheon in another—with the text “I am once again asking you not to touch the artwork,” a reference to a different beloved Sanders meme. Even institutions across the pond took part. Today, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, posted a famed Aelbert Cuyp painting featuring an idyllic landscape populated with animals. Next to the sitter alongside them was Bernie. “Seated Shepherd with Cows and Sheep in a Meadow. And Bernie,” the museum wrote. A cascade of similar images soon followed. The art historian Michael Lobel made a version in which Sanders inside a moody café from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks—itself the subject of one of the more memorable Covid-era memes—and others placed the senator within iconic works by Sandro Botticelli, Vincent van Gogh, ASCO, Joseph Beuys, and Georges Seurat. (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte with Bernie, anyone?) There was even a version where Sanders appeared seated atop a stylite column that appeared first in a 5th century Byzantine manuscript. But no version of the newest Sanders joke proved more memorable than one created by the writer R. Eric Thomas, who inset him facing Marina Abramović for one famous performance that appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. MoMA picked it up, tweeting, “Bernie is present.” Something about Thomas’s rendition may help explain its charm. In most pictures of The Artist Is Present, Abramović’s steely eyes meet her viewer, almost daring anyone who sits before to look away. But in the meme version, Sanders looks away from her, his eyes cast toward the floor. In this meme, there seems to be a willful disregard of something that was construed by many as being great—an anti-establishment spirit that befits Sanders’s own views. Of course, the Sanders memes are plain and good fun—they’re brash, silly, even a bit jarring. Yet their popularity is telling, too. At a time when all museums and the objects held within are subject to widespread critique, these images, with their anachronisms and their jokey takes on centuries-old masterpieces, wear down the aura of some of the greatest artworks of all time, rendering them anew in the process. As the first major art history meme of the Biden era, this one’s a good one.


    Wednesday, January 20, 2021. They come back strong, very strong in the transom Charlie Dalin ( Apivia ), current leader of this 9 th edition. The rookie of the event pushes his machine to the maximum despite foiling problems and sticks as close as possible to the wind to reduce the distance that separates him from Sables-d'Olonne. Louis Burton ( Bureau Vallée 2 ), a time runner-up in this crazy climb up the Atlantic points more to the west, 143 nautical miles away, while Boris Herrmann ( Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco ), who wears the colors from the Principality of Monaco, 114 nautical miles from the leader, ahead of Thomas Rettant by a bow ( LinkedOut ). Uncertainty after 73 days of racing They are approaching at full speed the Vendée and its Sables-d'Olonne. The men at the head of this Vendée Globe are making landowners stomp with impatience and it is certain that they too want to put an end to it. Accompanied by moderate north-easterly to easterly trade winds, the fleet circumvents the high pressures positioned on Madeira. Charlie Dalin ( Apivia ) opted for a shorter route to compensate for his port foils which he can no longer deploy, Louis Burton ( Bureau Vallée 2 ) as for him, continues to shoot down to try to go faster on a route further west. If the trajectories are different, the objective remains the same. " It's going to be very sporty " whispered Boris Herrmann ( Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco ) " you have to stay 100% focused, this is absolutely not the time to relax the attention or the pressure and nothing is done" . The German skipper also plays the podium of this 9 th edition and has a big advantage: a boat in perfect condition and two great foils ready to lick the surface of the water at full speed. The facts are there, it is pointing for the first time since the start in 2 nd position and is spinning at more than 16 knots (at the score of Wednesday January 20 at 6:00 p.m.). Unknown epilogue The verdict of the Vendée Globe is still unknown a good week from the finish. An incredible scenario, and it is not Armel Le Cléac'h, winner of the last edition and guest of the Vendée Globe point organized yesterday within the Yacht Club de Monaco, who will deny it. “With each edition, a new story is written. When we see the scenario of the last few days of racing, it promises incredible suspense and it is very difficult today to give a potential winner. The future winner will be a great sailor but will above all be someone who has managed to manage this end of the race well with the traps that still have to be crossed including the Azores High and then the train of depressions to Sables-d 'Olonne ” continues the record holder (74 days, 3 hours, and 35 minutes). There are Charlie (Dalin) and Louis (Burton) who have taken a small advantage over the pursuers but Boris and Thomas can still play spoilers. Boris is having a good race. He was curator on the 1 st half the race. He cleverly knew not to attack with this boat which can be very fast. He plays his card thoroughly. He has always been well placed. He was discreet and knew how to be forgotten. We know that he has a boat at 100% of his potential and that he is comfortable when it is windy. We can have a non-French on the podium and why not dream of a final victory. " The first competitors should reach the mainland by a south-west flow. A navigation which will then be synonymous with gybes but also side effects to be understood. The tactical battle engaged since the exit of the Doldrums is now at its height. Source :

  • French gentleman thief series 'Lupin' tops 'Queen's Gambit' views on Netflix

    The Netflix-produced series "Lupin", a sly modern take on France's beloved gentleman thief, is on track for 70 million views worldwide in its first month, setting a record for a French TV show, the streaming platform said Tuesday. On the basis of current trends the series -- starring Omar Sy of "Untouchable" fame -- will have breezed past Netflix's biggest recent blockbuster "The Queen's Gambit" which has 62 million views and other English-language hits including "Bridgerton". The Netflix projection covers the 28 days to February 5, the company told AFP. "70 million, that's crazy", Omar Sy tweeted. "So proud that Lupin is the first French series to have such an international success." Only half of the first season's 10 episodes have so far been available on Netflix. They are top of the viewing charts in around 10 countries, including Brazil, Vietnam, Argentina and Spain. The 1905 book on which the series is loosely based, "Arsene Lupin -- Gentleman Burglar" by French novelist Maurice Leblanc -- has shot to the top of book sales on Amazon.fr since the release of the TV show. In the series, based in modern-day Paris, Sy plays Assane Diop who uses the gentleman thief and master of disguise as his inspiration in his quest to avenge his father for an injustice inflicted by a wealthy family. "For an actor, Lupin is the perfect plaything," Sy told the 20 Minutes daily. "His role is dramatic, but also light, funny, seductive and action-packed," he said. Asked why so few black actors played leading roles in French productions, Sy said: "I don't know. But let's hope that we've set something in motion with Lupin". The series, produced by Gaumont, was mostly written by Briton George Kay, whose past work includes "Killing Eve", "Criminal" and "The Hour", in collaboration with Frenchman Francois Uzan, author of French series "Family business", another Netflix production. Kay told AFP earlier this month that "what is great about Omar is that when he plays Assane with his charisma and his smile you want him to succeed, even when he's breaking the rules". "Lupin" has a 7.4 out of 10 rating, according to a review compilation by the Internet Movie Database. The Globe and Mail called it "a magnificent concoction", while the Chicago Tribune said it was "Sy's Bond-ian elegance and understated charisma that keeps you keyed in". Netflix has invested in several original French productions in recent years, including "Plan Coeur" and "La Revolution", which have met with mixed reviews. The first French Netflix series, "Marseille" starring Gerard Depardieu in 2016, was lambasted by critics, with El Pais calling it "a disaster" and the New York Times saying "it gets loopier and more ridiculous as it goes".

  • Why England’s Sutton Hoo Burial Remains One of the Greatest Archaeological Finds

    In 1939, a select group of guests were invited to attend a party in Woodbridge, England, a small town just eight miles from the North Sea. They were promised the usual festivities—some imbibing on sherry, for one—as well as something more unusual: a chance to take a look at a newly revealed archaeological treasure. Edith Pretty, the wealthy homeowner who was throwing the party, sent out invitations that read: “At Home … to view the remains of a Viking ship burial.” The guests would go on to sip sherry alongside what is now known as the Sutton Hoo burial, which soon became one of the most talked-about discoveries of the day. Still today, more than 60 years on, the Sutton Hoo burial is considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Named for the estate on which it is set (Hoo means “spur of land” in Old English), the dig that ensued turned up a host of valuable objects, including an ornate belt buckle, a gold shield, a regal helmet, and remarkable brooches. These artifacts rank among the most important ones ever found in England, and they are now popular attractions at the British Museum in London, where many of them are held. For historians and archaeologists, the Sutton Hoo burial was crucial—it showed that England was not a dead zone for the arts after the Romans left during the 5th century. As British Museum curator Sue Brunning told the Guardian earlier this month, the artifacts found at the burial, which date back to the 7th century, testify to the fact that, if anything, the period was a vibrant one for the Anglo-Saxons. “England was no cultural backwater,” she said. This may account for why the Sutton Hoo burial has taken such a prominent place in the country’s collective social consciousness. In yet another sign of just how important the discovery was, it now forms the basis for The Dig, a new Netflix film due to be released digitally this Friday based on John Preston’s 2007 novel of the same name. (It is currently playing in select theaters in the U.S.) The Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan plays Pretty, and Ralph Fiennes stars alongside her as Basil Brown, a local archaeologist who helped uncover the objects. But, during the late 1930s, when spectacle at Sutton Hoo began to unfold, few would have ever expected the quaint English town to make history—few, that is, other than Pretty herself. Pretty was a spiritualist, and she had a sense that something important lurked in the tumuli—Roman burial mounds—near her villa. (A friend once claimed to have seen the ghost of a warrior nearby one.) Intrigued by these seemingly otherworldly lumps of earth, she brought on local experts to help her with the process of looking into what might lie within the tumuli, and she was ultimately connected with Brown, whose turn as an archaeologist came after gaining a reputation in other fields, including that of astronomy. Within months, Brown began uncovering the outline of a massive, 89-foot-long ship that likely once held the remains of King Raedwald of East Anglia, who is believed to have died sometime around the year 625. It had been lugged on land to Sutton Hoo as part of a ship burial, a funerary rite in which a leader is laid to rest alongside his belongings in a vessel. (The ship itself has disappeared, along with the remains that may have constituted Raedwald’s body.) At first, Brown’s findings were only somewhat significant—an axe appeared, along with some rivets. But inside the largest mound were extraordinary objects that hinted at something much greater. “It is the find of a lifetime,” Brown wrote in his diary in 1939. And then there was the rich cultural admixture that accounted for all the objects. Sources for them ranged as wide as Merovingian France and Syria; some artifacts had traveled thousands of miles from their origin before reaching their final destination at Sutton Hoo. But it is the gold objects uncovered that continued to strike Brown, who wrote, “All the objects shone in the sunshine as on the day they were buried.” Among them was a belt buckle with a triple-lock mechanism, its surface adorned with semi-abstract imagery featuring snakes slithering beneath each other. There were gold coins that had been minted in the Aquitaine region of France, and they were contained inside a purse with an ornate lid featuring wolf imagery rendered in reddish garnet. The purse’s cover is now considered one of the finest examples of cloisonné, a style in which stones are held by gold strips. And there was a shield with animal-like forms formed out of gold carved with a level of detail that appears nearly impossible to re-create by hand. But no object found at the burial has been as beloved as a helmet, its intimidating features marked out by ridging denoting facial hair. It is one of just four full helmets from the era archaeologists have ever found. In the decades since the initial find, the Sutton Hoo objects have been given grand showcases. In 1939, Pretty gave all the objects to the British Museum, which now exhibits them in its galleries. (Shortly thereafter, amid German air raids, they were stored in a London Underground station, plunging them deeper into the earth than they ever were before.) As for Sutton Hoo itself, the estate has been given over to England’s National Trust, which, in 2019, opened the grounds for public visitation after a £4 million renovation project. The mounds there aren’t too exciting, however—imagine a Maya Lin land sculpture, but not as visually striking—so, in an effort to lure tourists who must travel more than two hours to get there, the National Trust set up a tall viewing tower and audiovisual installations. Since its rediscovery, Sutton Hoo has yielded more artifacts, helping furnish historians’ understanding of the site and the Anglo-Saxons who once inhabited it. But what accounts for its continued popularity? New Yorker writer Sam Knight suggested in 2019 that, amid Brexit-era isolationism, the wide array of cultures represented at Sutton Hoo offer a more diverse view of British history. “There is a nationalizing myth of Britain’s long history as an island—that it has made us more free and more resilient—when the facts in the ground invariably argue the opposite: that we have always been attached, dependent, part foreign,” Knight wrote. Others have explained Sutton Hoo’s intrigue in more simple terms, claiming that it allows present-day visitors to commune with the distant past. “This field is the biggest real artifact at Sutton Hoo,” Angus Wainwright, an archaeologist for the National Trust, told the Guardian in 2002. “The Anglo-Saxon kings actually walked here—this is still a landscape they would recognize.”

  • China calls for 'better angels' to prevail in reset with Biden's US

    China on Thursday congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration and called for a reset in relations between Beijing and Washington, as the new administration brought an end to the fractious term of Donald Trump. Beijing also said it welcomed news that the US would re-join the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord, as Biden tried to immediately pivot his office back to a key role in global leadership. The new US president is expected to remain tough on China but commit to international cooperation after Trump's divisive "America First" approach. "With cooperation from both sides, the better angels in China-US relations will beat the evil forces," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing. She said Biden had used the word "unity" several times in his inauguration speech, and that it was "precisely what is needed currently in US-China relations". Under Trump, tensions with China plunged to a nadir over trade, security, technology, the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and human rights. In a final dig at the Trump administration, Beijing said Wednesday it was sanctioning more than two dozen members and ex-officials in the former president’s government, including his secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The officials and their family members will be prohibited from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, the foreign ministry said. "Over the past few years the Trump administration, especially Pompeo, has buried too many mines in US-China relations that need to be eliminated, burned too many bridges that need to be built, and destroyed too many roads that need to be repaired," said Hua on Thursday.

  • Italian Police Recover Copy of Salvator Mundi Taken from Naples Museum

    Italian police have recovered a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi that was stolen from a basilica museum in Naples last year. Likely painted by one of the Renaissance master’s students, the 500-year-old work was discovered in an apartment only a few miles from the Museum of San Domenico Maggiore. The person who allegedly seized the canvas has been taken into police custody under suspicion of receiving stolen goods, according to a police statement. The Leonardo painting (ca. 1500) depicts Christ raising one hand in blessing, while in the other hand holding a crystal orb. In 2017, the painting became the most expensive work ever sold at auction, fetching $450.3 million from an anonymous bidder who was later linked to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The painting, whose attribution has been contested by many experts, disappeared soon after. Even before the record-breaking sale, art historians disagreed over Salvator Mundi‘s author. Some maintain that the work, which first surfaced in 2005, was actually executed by a member of his studio. Salvator Mundi was omitted from the Louvre’s blockbuster da Vinci exhibition in 2019. The painting was set to be unveiled in 2018 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but the event was postponed by the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism without explanation. There are around 20 surviving copies of Salvator Mundi attributed to Leonardo’s workshop. The Naples copy, which dates to the 1510s, was brought the city from Rome by an envoy to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, as a gift to the museum’s Hall of Liturgical Objects, according to the museum’s website. The copy briefly returned to Rome for the exhibition “Leonardo in Rome: Influences and Legacy,” where it underwent a restoration. Italian police said that the work was taken two years ago, though the museum has said that the painting was in its possession following the close of the Rome show in January 2020.

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