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Boston museum to return WWII-looted art to Italy; Ukraine accuses Russian forces of looting 2,000 artworks


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!

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to return marble head looted during World War II to Italy 


An ancient marble sculpture depicting a Roman politician will soon return home to Italy from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. On Monday, the museum announced an agreement with the Italian government to return the artifact, which is believed to have been looted during WWII. The sculpture, which dates back to the 3rd or 4th century CE, depicts the head of Roman emperor Maximianus Herculius. It was unearthed in 1931 during an archeological excavation in Minturno, Italy, from where historians believe it was likely taken by German troops or otherwise “dispersed” by unknown individuals during the war. In fact, the museum has been on a repatriation spree. ART News tells you more. 


Also at MFA Boston… controversial art exhibition ‘Philip Guston Now’ debuts  


Originally planned to open in June of 2020 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., “Philip Guston Now” was initially postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was further shelved in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police and subsequent nationwide protests. For, Guston’s later work included blunt images of hooded Ku Klux Klan figures as the artist interrogated his role as a white man – and more broadly all of white America’s complicity – in the nation’s abuse of minorities. In the hands of all-white curatorial staff, the exhibition’s organizing institutions decided to shelf the presentation until it could be more thoroughly informed by a greater diversity of expert opinions before going on public display. Others viewed the postponement as cowardice and censorship; the debate raged well outside the insular halls of art museums. Forbes has all the details.  


Meanwhile… Russian forces seized 2,000 artworks in Mariupol: Ukraine 


Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of seizing “over 2,000 artworks” from museums in the occupied city of Mariupol and moving the pieces to areas of the Russian-controlled Donbas region. They said the haul includes several original works by the 19th-century Mariupol native Arkhip Kuindzhi and the famed Russian romantic painter Ivan Aivazovsky as well as a unique handwritten Torah scroll, and the Gospel of 1811 made by the Venetian printing house for the Greeks of Mariupol. In a separate statement, Petro Andriushchenko, a member of the city council, said Russia seized three original paintings by Kuindzhi, who gained international fame for his portraits of the Russian landscape. If confirmed, the art seizure in Mariupol would signify the first known instance of mass cultural looting by Russian forces since the start of the war. The Guardian explores. 


Speaking of theft… Thief purloins three Ai Weiwei sculptures of his hand flipping the bird  


A trio of glass hands by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei were pinched from a city centre gallery in Hamburg, Germany in broad daylight this week. Each of the colourful hands were on sale for €9,500 (£8,000) on the Lumas website, making the theft worth just under €30,000 (£24,000). According to Hamburg Police, the light-fingered thief acted alone. The heist took place between midday and 6pm on Monday. A centrepiece of the gallery, the glass hands were kept in full public view. Staff member told MailOnline the alarm protecting them failed to go off. Due to strict privacy laws, German police rarely provide CCTV or crime scene photos before cases are closed. Lumas Galerie Hamburg decided not to comment. The Daily Mail reports.