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The Journal puzzles out recurrence of hilarious art restoration fails | The Journal – Queen's Journal

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Eight years ago, in Spain, a well-meaning elderly lady made a disastrous decision to paint over a beloved painting of the son of God, transforming the work into what’s been dubbed Potato Jesus by some, Monkey Christ by others. 

The Monkey Christ fiasco drew international attention to Borja, the small town in Spain where it all went down, and Cecilia Giménez, the would-be restorer, faced ire, derision, and mockery from the global community. 

But the original 19th century work, Ecce Homo, which Giménez painted over, was never a priceless artefact as the media frenzy suggested. Rather, it held sentimental value to parishioners of the church it resided in. Ironically, Monkey Jesus has drawn more tourism to Borja than ever before, boosting the town’s fledgling economy, and making the botched version far more valuable than the original hidden beneath it. 

While all’s well that ends well in this case, the fable of Monkey Christ calls into question how Giménez’s blunder was allowed to happen in the first place. One might assume there’d be strict protocols when it comes to restoring centuries-old artworks—the kind of protocols that’d prevent a random local from taking their best crack at it. 

In Giménez’s case, she had permission from the priest and conducted her work in the open with witnesses. According to her, she wasn’t finished the restoration job yet when the media uproar began, but, looking at the two images side-by-side, it’s hard to imagine more time would’ve yielded a better result.

Besides, serious art conservators insist completely painting over an original work is never the goal of restoration, no matter what state of disrepair it’s in. Instead, they carefully clean grime off old works and meticulously fill in cracks if need be. When handled by a trained professional, art restorations are typically successful at preserving the work and bringing it close to its original appearance. 

Yet, botched art restorations are alarmingly common. In 2018, more misguided restorers at the San Miguel de Estella church in Navarra, Spain degraded a 16th century wooden carving of a knight into a wonky cartoon character. As with the Jesus Monkey, this restoration was undertaken by a local craftsperson with good intentions instead of an expert. 

More recently, in the Northern Spanish city of Palencia, a botched statue restoration has gone viral. In this case, an alleged professional was hired to retouch a smiling woman’s face on the side of a building which had suffered from erosion. The result took the realistic carving style of the original and turned it into what looks like a playdough face molded by a really talented toddler. 

While the trend would make it seem like some group of people is pulling an elaborate prank on the art community of Spain, these isolated events each happened as a result of poor planning and a lack of care. 

Perhaps it would be best to change our approach to art conservatism and add a lot more oversight and community decision-making to the process. In addition, we ought to put a greater emphasis on preserving old art and sculptures to prevent damage from occurring.

Alternatively, we could be a lot more restrictive when it comes to selecting ancient artworks for remastering. You may know that ancient marble statues crafted by Roman societies were originally painted over. But today, these sculptures are recognized the world over for their iconic pale marble appearance and lifeless eyes. 

While experts might see these statues as being ravaged by time, others regard their current state as more beautiful than the originals.  Would we ever dare to repaint these sculptures, rebuild the colosseum or realign the Leaning Tower of Pisa? After all, there is a haunting beauty to old and damaged things. 

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Three to See Saturday: Churchill lights, SNAP art sale and the awesome VISSIA – Edmonton Journal

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Holiday Light Up: The Downtown Business Association is teaming up with multiple partners to add a little warm glow to the core, and being outside we can all easily keep our distance. Six installations will be rolled out at different downtown locations over the next week, lit in stages though Jan. 8 in the evenings. The first two are Transformation: Promise and Wisdom by Sharon Rose Kootenay and Jason Symington — with an assist form The Works Art & Design Festival — and Winter Wonder by Vicky Mitall, and can now be viewed at Sir Winston Churchill Square. New installations around the inner grid will be updated on the DBA website — edmontontondowntown.com/holidaylightup.

Holiday Light Up has begun on Churchill Square, adding new outdoor features over the next couple weeks. Photo by supplied

Details: Every night at — so far — Churchill Square, no charge

SNAP Annual Members Show & Sale: From personal experience I can tell you this is one of the easiest and most appreciated ways of getting your “happy season” shopping out of the way, the gift of magnificent, meticulously-crafted art — now just a click away thanks to the hated 2020 plague. That said, if you book ahead at snapartists.com, you can still wander through the space. “When people make an appointment they have the entire gallery to themselves for 30 minutes,” explains SNAP exec April Dean. “The whole show is up and framed in the gallery and it looks beautiful. There’s 85 framed prints up, ready to deck your halls, if you will.” If you can’t make it Saturday, don’t worry, show’s up though Dec. 19, at which point the hardworking staff will take a break and be back in the new year, just another thing about 2021 that’s going to be awesome.

No Feeling is Final by Laurel Westlund is on sale at SNAP. Photo by supplied
Veiled Immersion: Suspension by Liz Ingram is on sale at SNAP. Photo by supplied

Details: noon on at SNAP Gallery (10572 115 St.) or online at snapartists.com

VISSIA: If all that sounds a little too “near any other human” for you, it’s about time you spent some virtual time with local singer Alex Vissia, who’ll be having some musical quality time with her fans and having a party to celebrate the release of her new single, About Moving On. This all happens on facebook.com/vissiamusic, you can do it!

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Charlottetown's arts advisory board to compile report on public art for city council – The Guardian

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Charlottetown city council will be receiving a report about adding public art to the downtown by the end of January.

The city’s arts advisory board met on Tuesday to begin the process of summarizing its Imagine Charlottetown initiative.

“We’re going to write a summary of our campaign and each (arts advisory) board member is going to write a page on their expertise,” said Barb MacLeod, chairwoman of the board. “We’re going to present that to city council.”

The board hosted an open house in March just before public health restrictions were introduced around the COVID-19. The goal was to give residents a sneak peek at ideas that were submitted as part of the initiative as a first step in the process.

However, everything quickly came to a halt, all but putting the process on hold. Things got moving again in late October. Board members begin soliciting expressions of interest from building owners who might be keen to have a mural placed on the side of their structure.

As with anything, money is an issue and there are bylaws to navigate around. The board wants to make sure council is as educated as possible before moving any further.

“Hopefully, if we’ve done a good job (on the report) we will start to have them consider public art as a priority for the city; something that needs attention,” said MacLeod.

The report will include various funding channels money for public art can be accessed through.

MacLeod points to the success of public art in Halifax as what is possible. The Halifax Regional Municipality facilitates the creation and acquisition of quality public art and ensures that professional artists are involved in its creation. The Halifax region has more than 250 pieces of public art projects and installations.

“We have had such incredibly fun conversations and our visions for the city are so wonderful. We’re really hoping to be able to encapsulate what we talk about in our meetings into this summary.”

MacLeod said the ultimate goal is to have public art projects and installations reflect the people of Charlottetown.

“It’s not just about putting a mural on the side of a building,” she said. “It’s about lifting up a community in so many different ways.”

Dave Stewart is the municipal reporter for The Guardian.

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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Charlottetown's arts advisory board to compile report on public art for city council – SaltWire Network

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Charlottetown city council will be receiving a report about adding public art to the downtown by the end of January.

The city’s arts advisory board met on Tuesday to begin the process of summarizing its Imagine Charlottetown initiative.

“We’re going to write a summary of our campaign and each (arts advisory) board member is going to write a page on their expertise,” said Barb MacLeod, chairwoman of the board. “We’re going to present that to city council.”

The board hosted an open house in March just before public health restrictions were introduced around the COVID-19. The goal was to give residents a sneak peek at ideas that were submitted as part of the initiative as a first step in the process.

However, everything quickly came to a halt, all but putting the process on hold. Things got moving again in late October. Board members begin soliciting expressions of interest from building owners who might be keen to have a mural placed on the side of their structure.

As with anything, money is an issue and there are bylaws to navigate around. The board wants to make sure council is as educated as possible before moving any further.

“Hopefully, if we’ve done a good job (on the report) we will start to have them consider public art as a priority for the city; something that needs attention,” said MacLeod.

The report will include various funding channels money for public art can be accessed through.

MacLeod points to the success of public art in Halifax as what is possible. The Halifax Regional Municipality facilitates the creation and acquisition of quality public art and ensures that professional artists are involved in its creation. The Halifax region has more than 250 pieces of public art projects and installations.

“We have had such incredibly fun conversations and our visions for the city are so wonderful. We’re really hoping to be able to encapsulate what we talk about in our meetings into this summary.”

MacLeod said the ultimate goal is to have public art projects and installations reflect the people of Charlottetown.

“It’s not just about putting a mural on the side of a building,” she said. “It’s about lifting up a community in so many different ways.”

Dave Stewart is the municipal reporter for The Guardian.

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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