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Art in the time of war: From fears for Ukraine’s artworks to an eye on Russian collections


While we focus on Indian art, we can’t obviously function in a vacuum. It’s a small world and everything is connected, especially on the web. So, let’s train our spotlight across the world map to see what’s going on — from art trends to socio-political issues to everything that affects the great aesthetic global consciousness. Or, let’s just travel the world and have some fun!

Ukrainians afraid for their art and monuments


Millions of artworks and monuments are at risk from Russia’s military onslaught in Ukraine, with one museum already burned to the ground, the global arts organisation Getty has said. Ukrainian scholars are warning of an “unfolding cultural catastrophe”, Getty said in a statement. The director of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv, said he was attempting to safeguard the museum from attack or looting alongside two colleagues. Getty said Russian forces had begun destroying Ukraine’s cultural heritage, including the Ivankiv museum, about 50 miles north of Kyiv, which housed “precious Ukrainian folk art”. Monuments at risk represent “centuries of history from the Byzantine to the baroque periods” and Unesco world heritage sites. The situation unfolds with The Guardian.


Artist Maria Pryimachenko’s works destroyed in Kyiv


With a local museum destroyed by the Russian military in Ivankiv near Kyiv, also gone is what was housed within — the unique works of the world-famous Ukrainian folk art painter Maria Pryimachenko in the genre of \’naive art\’. Numerous paintings featuring humans and animals were reportedly decorated in front of the President\’s office in the museum. In a tweet, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that at least 25 works by Pryimachenko were burnt as a result of an invasion by Russia. Since the Russian forces destroyed the museum during the ongoing war, Ukraine has called for UNESCO to strip Russia of its membership in the organization. Tweets condemning Russia’s destruction of the museum and images of Prymachenko’s works flooded Twitter. Artnet News has the details.


What of Russia’s treasures on loan in London, Paris?


Works loaned from Russia for major exhibitions in the UK and Europe are for now remaining on display in the wake of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The exhibition Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London (until 8 May), is dedicated to the celebrated Russian goldsmith whose lavish and elegant creations are synonymous with opulence. A V&A spokeswoman says that “the V&A remains in contact with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, DCMS, on the evolving situation in the Ukraine. To date, we’ve had no requests to return loans from Russian institutions.” Another major Russian art exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris—the Morozov collection amassed by the early 20th-century philanthropist brothers Mikhail and Ivan Morozov—will not be forced to close, say officials at the gallery funded by the LVMH luxury brand. The Art Newspaper tells you more.


‘Art exchanges should not be affected by politics’


The fate of an exhibition of French artist Henri Matisse, set to open in March in Beijing and Shanghai, is up in the air after Christian Poiret, president of the Departmental Council of Nord, announced on Friday that the event was being canceled because of \”political ties between China and Russia.\” The news left many fans of the artist in China disappointed and confused over the cancellation. Furthermore, cultural partnership between the Nord and Chinese cultural institutions will be suspended until further notice, local media reported. Many Chinese art lovers who had purchased tickets before Friday expressed disappointment at the news, saying that art should not be interrupted by politics. China has clarified it is taking a neutral position. The Global Times expresses a standpoint.


Bid for art to donate to humanitarian, relief proceeds


Amid panic and fear, the world is also rallying to unite against war. In an effort to represent positive action for the world of art, we have the TIMEPIECES: ARTISTS FOR PEACE COLLECTION. At least 56 TIMEPieces artists have come together and created individual and unique 1:1 artworks that are inspired by the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people. 100% of the proceeds will support humanitarian and relief efforts for Ukraine. The bids will end at 5pm ET (10pm UTC) on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Check out the display with Time online.