‘It’s a real shame’: ‘Life-sized’ art stolen from celebrated sculpture artist
Dawn MacNutt is hoping to locate some of her most meaningful art pieces after she says several woven-copper sculptures were stolen from her studio area on Thursday afternoon.
The 85-year-old sculpture artist from Pictou County, N.S., said the pieces, which were placed outside of her studio, were no longer there when she walked down to the space about 400 metres from her home.
“I had several sitting on the benches on the deck and another one was hung on a large tree,” she said.
She said the sculptures contained high degrees of personal significance, referring to one as “autobiographical” and mentioning how the remaining pieces were inspired by others.
“It was like a gut punch at first,” she said.
“The work is 40 years old,” she continued, “I never thought of it as being vulnerable to theft.”
Despite the sentimental value being her primary concern, MacNutt said the retail price on the figurative pieces were about $4,000 each.
MacNutt’s daughter, Laura, said she believes the items were stolen for the raw copper metal, as the pieces that were created using other materials such as iron and stone were left untouched.
Laura MacNutt said one was a “life-sized” piece that would’ve likely required a vehicle to transport.
“They’ve been completely disrespected as pieces of art and it’s just painful to consider,” she said.
She said she began tracking down local metal vendors in the area following receiving a call from her mother around 11 p.m. on Thursday evening.
“I just went on Google and tracked down contact information and emails for every vendor of metal and recycling depot and broadcasted emails with images of the pieces and just pleaded with consideration of keeping an eye out,” she said.
MacNutt said the responses from the metal merchants and online community have been “remarkable” so far, with her Facebook post generating hundreds of comments and shares.
She said anybody that’s buying copper could very easily verify these pieces as distinctive.
Laura MacNutt said she’d be very willing to offer a reward to anyone who has information on the whereabouts of her mother’s sculptures.
“I just really want to get these back,” she said.
“She has pieces at the Dartmouth waterfront at the Alderney Landing,” she said, adding that her mother’s work has received international recognition throughout the course of her artistic career.
MacNutt said she has lots of admiration for her mother. She said she isn’t quite sure if she’s ever heard someone say a negative word about her, labelling her as an “impossible act to follow”.
“I mean, I’m not her biggest fan,” she grinned, “but she has a lot of great fans and I’m real privileged to have grown up with her artwork.”
Laura MacNutt said her family doesn’t want any kind of grief from this situation, as they would just be happy to see the art restored.
“It means so much to us,” she said.
“These particular pieces are more sentimental pieces than commercial art pieces.”
Dawn MacNutt said she will continue creating new sculptures in anticipation of an upcoming exhibit in 2024 at Mount Saint Vincent University that will showcase a collection of her work from the 1970s to the present.
She said she’ll also be releasing a book containing photos of her work to run parallel to the display.
“I may have pictures of these pieces, but I won’t have the pieces,” she said.
Despite the circumstances, MacNutt maintains a positive attitude.
“It’s not a tragedy and I’m grateful that I have lots of work, and it’s ok,” she said.
“People in desperation do things without thought and they don’t understand that the value isn’t in the material but in the expression. You can’t expect everyone to appreciate those things.”
— with files from Megan King
Artists slam Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster art & claim it’s “AI generated” – Dexerto
Fans of the long-dormant Duke Nukem series were elated to see a remaster of the first 2 games getting announced, but that excitement has been dampened by people calling out the game’s key art for being “AI generated”.
AI has been rapidly developing as of late, getting implemented in an increasing number of ways for people to generate images and text by feeding certain AI programs a prompt to work from.
AI art has become just as controversial as it has been prominent, and people are increasingly wary of AI-generated images replacing the work of real artists.
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When the promotional art for the Duke Nukem 1 + 2 Remasters released, the joy of many fans was traded out for disdain, with many claiming that the art wasn’t created by an actual artist. To prove their point, several artists put together a detailed analysis of the image to try and explain why they think the artist that was hired didn’t do all his work by hand.
Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster under fire for “AI generated” art
When AI art first started taking the internet by storm, it was pretty easy to discern what was and wasn’t real. Though some images were more convincing than others, things like hands, facial expressions, and other small details didn’t quite line up with what a human artist would produce.
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However, as the technology rapidly advances, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference. For instance, the cover art for a book by the name of Bob the Wizard was exposed as being AI generated after it won a cover art contest, with the author of the book now working with a different artist to replace it.
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Now, Duke Nukem fans and artists are calling out Oskar Manuel, claiming that he used AI to generate the cover for the Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster under the nose of Evercade, the company promoting the remaster.
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It hasn’t been confirmed by the artist or Evercade whether or not Manuel used AI in the production of art for the title, but several artists and gamers have swarmed the account, claiming that art from Manuel’s portfolio seems to be AI-generated.
One artist went out of their way to mark the places in which they think the art most clearly shows its faults and other examples of art from Manuel’s portfolio that includes things like clocks with no hands and characters with 6 fingers.
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Neither Evercade nor Manuel have commented further on the matter at the time of writing, and the story is still developing.
Global BC sponsors Vancouver Art Gallery: Fashion Fictions – GlobalNews Events – Global News
On now until October 9
Vancouver Art Gallery
Head to the Vancouver Art Gallery for Fashion Fictions,
This exhibition explores the increasing influence of research-based, materially driven practices on the global fashion scene, and surveys experimental design practices pushing the boundaries of the art form.
Proudly sponsored by Global BC.
Details at VanArtGallery.bc.ca
Poland's quest to retrieve priceless Nazi-looted art – BBC
When the Nazis occupied Poland in World War Two, many of the country’s priceless pieces of art were stolen.
One of those was Madonna with Child, a 16th Century painting attributed to Italian Alessandro Turchi. A Nazi official who oversaw the looting of art included the painting on a list of hundreds taken from occupied Poland.
It is one of 600 looted artworks that Poland has managed to successfully bring home, but more than 66,000 so-called war losses are yet to be recovered.
Poland recently launched a campaign seeking the return of hundreds of thousands artworks and other cultural items still missing after German and Soviet occupations in World War Two. It is also seeking $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for damage incurred by occupying Nazis.
Experts believe more art will be discovered with the passage of time as heirs to looted artwork attempt to sell pieces without being aware of their history.
Madonna with Child is thought to have been transferred to Germany in 1940 during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The Nazis often looted art belonging to Jewish families before killing them.
The painting was included on a list of 521 artworks in occupied Poland compiled by Kajetan Mühlmann, a Nazi official who oversaw the looting of art.
The painting reappeared in the 1990s, when it was sold at a New York auction.
It was due to be auctioned in January last year, but the sale was halted after Polish authorities spotted the piece. Once it was proven to be the looted painting, the auction house and the painting’s owner agreed to return it to Poland. An official handing-over ceremony took place in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Polish art historian Natalia Cetera said the return of masterpieces like Madonna with Child help restore pride in the country’s art heritage.
Poland had Rembrandt and Raphael pieces stolen, as well as internationally recognised Polish masterpieces, she said.
“So whenever there is this situation where the artworks come back to Polish collections, you feel proud because it shows the importance of Polish collections that is sometimes forgotten,” Ms Cetera told the BBC.
“It means we have some strong focus on remembering our heritage, our collections and the strength we used to have in art, because this is something we tried to rebuild after the war and this is a long process to be recognised again.”
Ms Cetera says she believes there has been a shift in recent years in cultural heritage “being seen as a common good”.
Christopher Marinello, founder of Art Recovery International, has spent more than 30 years finding missing masterpieces. He believes that more pieces could start showing up as looted artwork gets handed down to the next generation, with the new heirs unaware of their history.
“We’re talking about a generation ago now and these looted objects are being left to their heirs when the possessors pass away and the children don’t necessarily know the history and they decide to sell it,” Mr Marinello said.
Polish authorities have recorded stolen pieces of artwork on Interpol and other private and government databases.
“There’s also a great number of art historians out there who are doing research of looted artworks from Poland and they’re spotting them too,” Mr Marinello said.
“The more that tech improves and auction houses start to post everything online, there’s more eyes looking for the objects that have been looted.”
Mr Marinello believes there is also a “generational shift” in attitudes to stolen masterpieces. He’s currently working on a case where a man in Chicago contacted him about a piece he believed his grandfather stole from a German museum in World War Two.
“They’d had it for an entire generation and now they realise that they can’t sell it and that they would rather give it back than have any more trouble over the issue.”
But the law varies from country to country, and sometimes a stolen piece can only be returned with the goodwill of the current owner.
Japan, where Madonna with Child was found, “is not a great country to recover stolen art from”, Mr Marinello says.
“It’s really up to the possessor in many cases to do the right thing… to understand that something was looted or stolen and that it should be returned, because you can’t rely on a lawsuit under Japanese law,” he said.
Ms Cetera said that the successful retrieval of Madonna with Child was a source of pride, but is unsure whether the passion for bringing stolen artwork back to Poland will continue with future generations.
“The question is whether it is important to the next generation – Gen Z and younger generations, do they really care? From what I observe, this might not be the case,” she said.
Digitised art collections might mean people losing interest in the physical form, she said.
“At some point maybe we won’t have to retrieve artworks… because we will have it in the Cloud and we will be able to reach it any time anywhere, no matter who has it.
“This digitisation and tech that is coming might at some point suppress the need of retrieving physical artworks.”
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