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INVESTIGATION OF ONTARIO PROTEST. Following the sudden cancelation of a reception hosting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) due to pro-Palestinian protests on Saturday, police are investigating whether activists broke the law. The dinner reception was meant to conclude meetings between the two leaders, but was scrapped due to security concerns, when 200 to 300 protesters gathered outside the museum, blocked people from entering, and chanted slogans such as, “Justin Trudeau you’re a liar” and “genocide Justin.” Toronto Police Service (TPS) spokesperson Stephanie Sayer stated officials were reviewing the incident, “and if it’s determined that illegal activity occurred, charges can be laid at a later date.”

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AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 8:  Girl makes a selfie in front "The Bedroom" by Vincent Van Gogh of visits the Van Gogh Museum on December 8, 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Van Gogh Museum is a museum located in Amsterdam that has the largest collection of works by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

Insurer Says Selfie ‘Pandemic’ Threatens Artworks, Met Names Gala Co-Chairs, Arts Council England to Revise Controversial Warning, and More: Morning Links for February 16, 2024

Pro-Palestine Demonstrators Protest at Art Gallery of Ontario, Marching Through KAWS Show

CRYPTOPUNKS RISING. An anonymous buyer has just purchased a CryptoPunks NFT for $16 million worth in Ethereum. The Monday sale is reportedly the second-largest purchase for a CryptoPunks NFT to date, fueling faith in NFT market resilience. The purchased CryptoPunk #3100 is one of nine “Alien Punks” from the collection, and with its signature blue skin, is considered rare. The sale has topped a recent Bitcoin spike in value, which is encouraging “delirious optimism among crypto enthusiasts,” reports Decrypt. Sound familiar, or have market corrections changed the game?

The Arts Council England (ACE) public funding body for the arts has revised its recently updated Relationship Framework policies following accusations changes had amounted to censorship, and said it “will not remove or refuse funding to an organization or an individual purely because they make work that is political.” This latest revision follows a controversial January update to the ACE guidelines which said that “overtly political or activist” statements in and by cultural institutions could threaten funding. [The Art Newspaper]


Taiwan-born multidisciplinary and tech artist Shu Lea Cheang has won the $100,000 LG Guggenheim Award. The award is meant to support artists working with technology. [The Art Newspaper]

A Belgian collector has voluntarily returned two wooden carvings estimated to be about 1000 years old to Nepal. One of the items, a cover for the Shivadharmottara-shastram manuscript, is believed to have been stolen from Nepal’s National Archives. [Artnet News]

Damien Hirst is building a 100-foot-high bronze chapel at Château La Coste, a southern French estate that exhibits contemporary art, and is currently featuring a survey of the artist’s work. The chapel will take the form of a giant hand and is scheduled to open in late 2025. [Financial Times]

A so-called “sleeper” Turner watercolor will go to auction at Cheffins in Cambridge later this month. The early watercolor, which the owner purchased for about $127 at a clearance sale, hung in their dining room for over some 30 years. [The Telegraph]

The Fondation Vasarely has won a legal ruling in its favor, thanks to a decision by France’s Court de Cassation to uphold a previous appeals court ruling stating that the foundation’s former lawyer, Yann Streiff must restitute 87 Vasarely works to the foundation, and/or pay the plaintiffs for profits he made from wrongfully selling the artworks. [Le Quotidien de l’Art]


INVADER OLYMPICS. As the Paris Olympics loom, another, not incompatible gaming contest is invading the city. Fans of the mystery artist known as Invader are obsessing over the “Flash Invaders” mobile phone game that awards points for finding the artist’s pixelated mosaics that pop up overnight, Banksy style, on buildings around the world, numbering over 4000. What will happen when fans of both games collide? Asks an Associated Press reporter. Since Invader is from Paris, the city hosts the largest number of the clandestine works, and hunting for them is one way to discover the French capital. The artist also recently hit a new milestone, installing the 1,500th Paris mosaic on the chimney of the Pompidou Center. Those who know Invader, say they’re expecting new surprises from him in time for the Olympic games, when visitors will include many of his fans. “He will doubtless invade the Games in a different way. I am almost certain,” said Fabrice Bousteau, the editor of Beaux Arts Magazine and curator of a current Invader exhibition.