Saatchi Gallery covers up works after complaints from Muslim visitors

Plus: Vanja Mallory appointed director and chief curator of the Syracuse University Art Galleries | Hidden Cupid revealed in Vermeer painting | and recommended reading

7 May 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Saatchi Gallery covers up works after visitor complaints | The Saatchi Gallery covered two paintings an artist pseudonymously known as SKU after Muslim visitors complained that they were blasphemous, the Times reports (£). The gallery declined to completely remove the works, one of which paired Islamic text with the nude figure from Ingres’ Grande Odalisque. It was SKU who suggested covering the works with sheets, telling the Sunday Times that this was intended to be a ‘respectful solution that enables a debate about freedom of expression’. The works were included in the solo exhibition ‘Rainbow Scenes’, which closed on Friday.

Vanja Mallory appointed director and chief curator of Syracuse University Art Galleries | Vanja Mallory has been named the new director and chief curator of the Syracuse University Art Galleries. Mallory was formerly curator of American Art at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum and, before that, a curatorial fellow in the modern and contemporary art department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She succeeds Domenic Iacono, who directed the museum at Syracuse for 40 years.

Hidden Cupid revealed in Vermeer painting | Conservators have partially uncovered the ‘picture within a picture’ of Cupid in the top right-hand corner of Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (c. 1657–59). The existence of the figure was first discovered during X-ray examinations 40 years ago, but it was only during recent laboratory tests that it was found to have been posthumously painted over. Restoration work to reverse these changes will be completed in another year; from tomorrow until 16 June the painting can be seen in its current state in a display at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.

Recommended reading | Lily Kuo reports on an investigation conducted by the Guardian and open-source journalism site Bellingcat into the ongoing and large-scale razing of mosques in China’s Xinjiang region. Hettie Judah at artnet looks at the pros and cons of climate–conscious art, which is well represented at the 58th Venice Biennale.

Lead image: used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 3.0)