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Art Insider Roundup: Events That Shook 2023: Part 2

Obviously, it’s not easy to cover everything that impacted the art world. So, here is the second part of the series detailing a few more of the events that shook the art landscape in 2023:

Also Read: Art Insider Roundup: Events That Shook 2023: Part 1

Ghosts Come To Haunt Smithsonian And Natural History Museum

The line between research and ethics has always been a tricky one. In 2023, two prominent institutions found themselves on the wrong side of it.

It was revealed that a large portion of human remains in the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History were obtained without consent. Much of the remains came from indigenous tribes and slaves, while there was also a significant portion from anonymous dead bodies of New York citizens. The revelation forced the Smithsonian to issue an apology while the American Museum updated their policies regarding acquiring humanr remains. Both formed task forces to repatriate the remains obtained thus far without consent.

Climate activists keep striking; Authorities strike back

Like the previous years, climate activists continued the trend of targeting artworks and museums to urge for action. This included smearing red paint at a Degas sculpture in Washington or throwing paint at a Monet in Sweden.

However, the activists are quickly losing sympathy even from the fairly progressive art community. While last year, most activists did not even face arrest, this year saw many getting fined and sentenced to jail.

Andy Warhol Loses Copyright Case

Copyright laws have remained one of the most vital aspects of law for artists. As such, the loss of Andy Warhol’s estate against photographer Lynn Goldsmith at the Supreme Court might prove to be a dangerous precedent for present and future artists.

Photographer Lynn Goldsmith had first filed a case in 2016 against the Andy Warhol estate. The work in question was a portrait of the singer Prince created by Warhol; however, Warhol had allegedly used a picture taken by Goldsmith as a reference. The US Supreme Court has now ruled that Warhol’s work did not come under fair use, and as such, owe compensation to Goldsmith. In the coming years, this could be a game-changer for artists using existing works as references.

(…to be continued)