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PROTEST/ART. Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866) and other artworks were tagged with the red-painted words, “MeToo,” and an embroidered art piece by Annette Messager was snatched in plain sight at the Centre Pompidou-Metz yesterday. The provocative Courbet painting of a vulva, on loan from the Musée d’Orsay, was not damaged, due to a protective glass covering. An artist named Deborah de Robertis, confirmed to reporters she organized what she describes as a group performance, titled “On ne sépare pas la femme de l’artiste,” [You don’t separate the woman from the artist]. A video shows two women painted the words “MeToo” on the Courbet artwork and another by the feminist Valie Export. A total of five pieces were targeted at the exhibit about the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, while participants distracted museum security and chanted “MeToo.” Two women have been detained by police, while Robertis is reportedly suspected of stealing Annette Messager’s red embroidered piece called “Je pense donc je suce” [I think, therefore I suck]. Robertis told the AFP the theft was a “gesture of re-appropriation,” because she recognized the object from the collection of an unnamed co-curator of the exhibit, whom Robertis said she knew personally from past sexual misconduct, according to Le Figaro. In other words, c’est compliqué!

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The Origin of the World (L'Origine du monde). Found in the Collection of Musée d'Orsay, Paris. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Artist and Protestors Tag Gustave Courbet’s ‘Origin of the World’ with the Words ‘Me Too’

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STALEMATE. A judge has ordered a stalemate — for now — in the dispute over the land art installation Greenwood Pond: Double Site, by Mary Miss, located at the Des Moines Art Center (DMAC). “Neither side is entitled to what it wants,” wrote US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Stephen Locher, according to The Art Newspaper. Locher nevertheless issued a preliminary injunction blocking the DMAC from demolishing the artwork without the artist’s permission, as they had planned. But the judge also said the center could not be forced to repair the sculpture if the cost was too high. DMAC estimates restoration will require over $2.6 million, a sum which the artist contests. “The end result is therefore an unsatisfying status quo: the artwork will remain standing (for now) despite being in a condition that no one likes but that the court cannot order anyone to change,” said the judge. Miss nevertheless welcomed the ruling in response to her claim that the Edmundson Art Foundation, which owns DMAC, violated her original contract, and she hopes the temporary restraining order “opens the door to the consultations about the future of the site that were denied me.”


Police blocked pro-Palestinian protestors from getting close to the Met Gala yesterday in New York. Demonstrators were heading toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art when the NYPD intercepted their march at 5th Avenue and 80th Street, while barricades blocked alternative routes towards the exclusive fashion event. [Bloomberg]

Demonstrators targeted another black-tie event on Saturday, the Hammer Museum’s annual gala in Los Angeles, and called for the resignation of UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, who is also a member of the museum’s board of directors. Some 50 UCLA faculty members reportedly protested outside the museum and called for amnesty for students and others arrested during campus Gaza demonstrations last week. [Hyperallergic]

Jack Lang, a former Socialist Party French Culture Minister and current head of the Arab World Institute in Paris, told El Pais, “the Arab world has abandoned Palestine. Even some of the countries that had shown signs of enthusiastic support for years.” The Arab World Institute recently held an exhibition featuring Palestinian artists, some of whom Lang said have died in the ongoing war. [El Pais]

A park on the Hudson River in New York known as “Little Island,” is being reconfigured into a four-month annual performance arts festival by its owner, Barry Diller, with a budget of over $100 million for programming over the next two decades. He is joined by Scott Rudin, the producer whom workers accused of bullying in 2021. [The New York Times]

Researchers in France have unearthed an unusually shaped, Neolithic monument in Marliens, south of Dijon, estimated to be thousands of years old. The 15-acre site “seems unprecedented” in its form, containing several, circular enclosures, said a statement by the French national Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP). [Smithsonian Magazine]


BLOCKBUSTER SCANDAL. The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead chronicles “the British Museum’s blockbuster scandal,” over thousands of missing and stolen artifacts allegedly lifted and partly sold on eBay by a museum curator. Overlooked, and improperly catalogued, Mead explains the historic, high value ancient Romans attributed to artifacts like the now missing, engraved semiprecious stones and objects cast from glass. They were unique works of art, and reveal important details about their subjects. Mead also asks the underlying question: “Why should the sarcophagi of Egyptian kings or the fragments of ancient Greek architecture be housed in London, and claimed in some sense as British? … At a certain point in a museum’s history, it becomes more than just a repository of the cultural and artistic past, telling a story about the history of a nation, or a people, or the world. It also becomes a museum of itself – of its formation, its collecting history, its priorities, and its failings.”