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Tech and art collide: Sculpture taken back from colonizers in NFTs, and AI ‘can’t copyright artwork’


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!

‘We Reappropriated What Belongs to Us’


Members of the Congolese Plantation Workers Art League, known by the acronym CATPC, have liaised with Berlin art dealer Alexander Koch, who co-owns the gallery KOW. CATPC has long sought an important Pende sculpture carved in the 1930s in the likeness of abusive colonizer Maximilien Balot, allegedly created to contain the Belgian’s spirit. But for decades, the wooden object has sat at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Now, an edition of 300 NFTs of it will be sold and any profits from the sales next month will go towards buying back more land and fair payment for workers. The museum that owns the work is not pleased about the NFT, which was made without their consent. But this entire exchange could stand for an interesting precedent. Artnet News explains.


Michelangelo\’s three \’pietas\’ united in historic first


Michelangelo\’s \”Pieta\” has overshadowed two other moving sculptures on the same subject by the Renaissance giant. Now, Florence\’s Opera del Duomo museum in Italy is putting on display together for the first time all three versions of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of her son Jesus Christ. The Tuscan museum\’s original \”Bandini\” goes on show Thursday alongside casts of the \”Pieta\” and \”Rondanini\”, which are on loan from the Vatican Museums. There are striking contrasts between these variations, which mark different phases in the life of the artist, who died aged 88 in 1564. The exhibition, which runs until August 1, \”highlights the link between life and art in this religious sculptor, who served the popes for most of his career\”. France 24 tells you all.


AI can’t copyright art: US Copyright Office


The US Copyright Office has rejected a request to let an AI copyright a work of art. Last week, a three-person board reviewed a 2019 ruling against Steven Thaler, who tried to copyright a picture on behalf of an algorithm he dubbed Creativity Machine. The board found that Thaler’s AI-created image didn’t include an element of “human authorship” — a necessary standard, it said, for protection. Creativity Machine’s work, seen above, is named “A Recent Entrance to Paradise.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean any art with an AI component is ineligible. And as AI becomes a bigger part of artists’ repertoires, the limits of the conclusion could be tested for years to come. The Verge breaks down the development.


UK’s National Portrait Gallery, BP to cut ties after 30 years


The United Kingdom National Portrait Gallery and BP have announced they will not extend their partnership beyond December 2022, when their contract comes to an end. BP has sponsored an award here for 30 years, but the partnership has been the subject of numerous protests as part of a protracted and high-profile campaign against big oil’s involvement in the arts. Notably, in 2019, five past winners of the Turner prize – Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, Anish Kapoor, Gillian Wearing and Mark Wallinger – were among a group of almost 80 leading artists, including winners of the BP portrait award, who asked the establishment to cut ties with BP, to remain a “forward-looking institution that’s on the right side of history”. The Guardian reports.