Sotheby's

An Oil Sketch Found Covered With Bird Droppings in a Farm Shed Is Actually an Early Van Dyck, Now Heading to Auction for $3 Million


An oil sketch by Anthony van Dyck, executed early in the Flemish artist’s career and rediscovered in a farm shed some four centuries later, will star in Sotheby’s Master Week series, where it is estimated to pull in up to $3 million. 

A Sketch for Saint Jerome is one of only two known live model-based studies by Van Dyck, likely created between 1615 and 1618, when the young painter was working as an assistant in Peter Paul Rubens’s Antwerp studio. The work captures a slouching elderly man, his face in shadow and his lean musculature finely rendered—a depiction that served as a study for Van Dyck’s Saint Jerome (1618–20), currently held by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. 

The oil sketch was discovered in a barn in Kinderhook, New York, in 2002, and acquired at auction by local collector Albert B. Roberts. Though the back of the canvas was reportedly dotted with bird droppings, Roberts believed the artwork to be a Dutch Golden Age painting and bought it for $600. 

He had his find authenticated in 2019, when art historian Susan Barnes recognized it as a “surprisingly well-preserved” work by Van Dyck. “The oil sketch,” she wrote, “is an impressive and important find that helps us understand more about the artist’s method as a young man.”

The Van Dyck sketch, offered to Sotheby’s by the estate of Roberts, who died in 2021, joins a number of other freshly resurfaced European masterworks in the auction house’s Old Master series.

Agnolo di Cosimo, called Bronzino, Portrait of A Man, Facing Left, With A Quill and a Sheet of Paper (ca. 1527). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Portrait of a Man with a Quill and Sheet of Paper (ca. 1527), a rare piece by Agnolo Bronzino, will hit the block following a storied line of ownership and misattribution. Munich collector Ilse Hesselberger acquired the canvas in 1927, believing the portrait to be the work of another Florentine artist. During World War II, the painting was seized by the Nazis, reattributed, and installed in various governmental offices in Germany. 

Last year, the work was restituted to Hesselberger’s heirs, who consigned it to Sotheby’s. There, it was restored and its radiant surfaces recognized as emerging from the assured hand of a young Bronzino (and likely even his self-portrait), echoing his other early oils such as Portrait of the Woman in Red (ca. 1533) at the Städel Museum.

The painting leads the Master Paintings auction with a high estimate of $5 million, proceeds of which will benefit the Selfhelp Community Services and the Lighthouse Guild.

Also included in the same sale is an expressive portrait newly attributed to Titian. Titled Ecce Homo—not to be confused with the artist’s massive 1543 composition of the same name that hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum—the unfinished oil is painted with the proto-Impressionist flair that marked Titian’s late period, depicting Christ, crowned with thorns, being presented to Pontius Pilate. It is expected to fetch between $1.5 to $2 million.

Giandomenico Tiepolo, Head of a bearded man in a blue and yellow collared robe (ca. 1757). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Rounding out the sale is a group of Old Master paintings that will enter the market for the first time. Three previously unknown works by Giandomenico Tiepolo, executed around 1757, and forming a set of imagined portraits of Greek philosophers Demosthenes, Socrates, and Aristotle, carry estimates between $80,000 to $2 million each. 

Yet another newly attributed painting, Sebastiano del Piombo’s Portrait of a Woman Holding a Crown of Laurels (ca. 1540s), is making its debut as well. While three other versions of this same portrait exist—most notably, one that was sold at Christie’s London in 2015 from the collection of Lord and Lady Kennet—this particular panel, the largest and with a provenance that goes back to the Russian Dolgorukov dynasty, has been deemed the original. Its estimate starts at $1.5 million.

Sotheby’s Master Week series in New York runs from January 18–30. A public exhibition opens January 21.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

An Oil Sketch Found Covered With Bird Droppings in a Farm Shed Is Actually an Early Van Dyck, Now Heading to Auction for $3 Million


An oil sketch by Anthony van Dyck, executed early in the Flemish artist’s career and rediscovered in a farm shed some four centuries later, will star in Sotheby’s Master Week series, where it is estimated to pull in up to $3 million. 

A Sketch for Saint Jerome is one of only two known live model-based studies by Van Dyck, likely created between 1615 and 1618, when the young painter was working as an assistant in Peter Paul Rubens’s Antwerp studio. The work captures a slouching elderly man, his face in shadow and his lean musculature finely rendered—a depiction that served as a study for Van Dyck’s Saint Jerome (1618–20), currently held by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. 

The oil sketch was discovered in a barn in Kinderhook, New York, in 2002, and acquired at auction by local collector Albert B. Roberts. Though the back of the canvas was reportedly dotted with bird droppings, Roberts believed the artwork to be a Dutch Golden Age painting and bought it for $600. 

He had his find authenticated in 2019, when art historian Susan Barnes recognized it as a “surprisingly well-preserved” work by Van Dyck. “The oil sketch,” she wrote, “is an impressive and important find that helps us understand more about the artist’s method as a young man.”

The Van Dyck sketch, offered to Sotheby’s by the estate of Roberts, who died in 2021, joins a number of other freshly resurfaced European masterworks in the auction house’s Old Master series.

Agnolo di Cosimo, called Bronzino, Portrait of A Man, Facing Left, With A Quill and a Sheet of Paper (ca. 1527). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Portrait of a Man with a Quill and Sheet of Paper (ca. 1527), a rare piece by Agnolo Bronzino, will hit the block following a storied line of ownership and misattribution. Munich collector Ilse Hesselberger acquired the canvas in 1927, believing the portrait to be the work of another Florentine artist. During World War II, the painting was seized by the Nazis, reattributed, and installed in various governmental offices in Germany. 

Last year, the work was restituted to Hesselberger’s heirs, who consigned it to Sotheby’s. There, it was restored and its radiant surfaces recognized as emerging from the assured hand of a young Bronzino (and likely even his self-portrait), echoing his other early oils such as Portrait of the Woman in Red (ca. 1533) at the Städel Museum.

The painting leads the Master Paintings auction with a high estimate of $5 million, proceeds of which will benefit the Selfhelp Community Services and the Lighthouse Guild.

Also included in the same sale is an expressive portrait newly attributed to Titian. Titled Ecce Homo—not to be confused with the artist’s massive 1543 composition of the same name that hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum—the unfinished oil is painted with the proto-Impressionist flair that marked Titian’s late period, depicting Christ, crowned with thorns, being presented to Pontius Pilate. It is expected to fetch between $1.5 to $2 million.

Giandomenico Tiepolo, Head of a bearded man in a blue and yellow collared robe (ca. 1757). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Rounding out the sale is a group of Old Master paintings that will enter the market for the first time. Three previously unknown works by Giandomenico Tiepolo, executed around 1757, and forming a set of imagined portraits of Greek philosophers Demosthenes, Socrates, and Aristotle, carry estimates between $80,000 to $2 million each. 

Yet another newly attributed painting, Sebastiano del Piombo’s Portrait of a Woman Holding a Crown of Laurels (ca. 1540s), is making its debut as well. While three other versions of this same portrait exist—most notably, one that was sold at Christie’s London in 2015 from the collection of Lord and Lady Kennet—this particular panel, the largest and with a provenance that goes back to the Russian Dolgorukov dynasty, has been deemed the original. Its estimate starts at $1.5 million.

Sotheby’s Master Week series in New York runs from January 18–30. A public exhibition opens January 21.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week


Rubells Make a Move to D.C. – The taste-making Rubell family of art collectors are expanding their private museum to Washington D.C.

Take the Money and Run – An artist received $84,000 from a Danish museum to make new work, and instead he took off with the cash and called it conceptual art.

Underground Museum Announces Inaugural Prize – The Los Angeles institution has awarded three curators with a $25,000 prize named for founder Noah Davis.

Former Fashion Designer Gets Gallery Rep – The long-acclaimed designer Martin Margiela has become a bona fide artist, and will now show with Zero X gallery at FIAC in Paris.

A New Class of ‘Geniuses’ – The MacArthur “Genius” grants were announced this week, with painter Jordan Casteel, curator Nicole R. Fleetwood, and artist Daniel Lind-Ramos among the honorees.

Snoop Dogg Goes On an Art Shopping Spree – The rapper bought $17 million worth of crypto art under the amusing moniker “Cozomo de Midici.”

Prado’s Makeover Approved – Spain has given the greenlight for a long-awaited $42 million expansion of the famous Madrid museum.

Float Like a Butterfly, Paint Like Picasso – A cache of Muhammad Ali’s original artwork is hitting the auction block, where it’s expected to set a new record.

New Museum’s New Award – The downtown Manhattan museum announced the creation of a new $400,000 commission award for female sculptors.

The Restoration of the Pieta A museum in Italy is conserving Michelangelo’s famous macabre sculpture, and letting the public see into the process.

A New Platform for NFTs – Gallerist Vito Schnabel teamed up with cyberlord Gary Vee to create new platform for selling NFTs.

A Monumentally Bad Track Record – A new report from the Philadelphia nonprofit Monument Lab revealed that 42 of the most-memorialized figures are white men, many of them slave owners.

Sotheby’s Loses Bid to Overturn Lawsuit – A judge denied the auction house’s attempts to dismiss a suit claiming it “fleeced” New York taxpayers.

Will Hong Kong Artists Flee? – The National Security Law in Hong Kong continues to exert pressure, causing many to fear an artistic exodus.

The National Gallery’s Rubens Gaffe – Turns out that the London museum’s prized painting by Peter Paul Rubens is a fake, at least according to new A.I. resarch.

Serial Thief Sentenced – An art thief who made off with $20 million of Van Gogh and Frans Hals works was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Critics Rail Against Bootylicious Italian Sculpture – A new public sculpture in Italy is drawing criticism for the female figure’s highly toned posterior.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Hong Kong’s Local Art Market Is Flourishing. But Under Its National Security Law, Many Fear an Artist Exodus


Hong Kong’s fall art season started with a bang. Eager collectors crowded into the second edition of the boutique art fair Unscheduled, which took over the vacant former Topshop flagship store on Queen’s Road earlier this month. After a wave of gallery openings, the city’s elite is now preparing for an action-packed slate of auctions as well as the Fine Art Asia fair in October.

The excitement surrounding these commercial events seems to exist in a parallel universe from the anxiety gripping many in the cultural sector and beyond since the implementation of Beijing’s national security law last year. Never before has the vitality of the market felt so disconnected from the everyday lives of Hong Kong people. 

Some see the national security law, which bans activities that government deems related to secession, subversion of the state, terrorism, and collusion with foreign agents to endanger national security, as a stabilizing force after the social unrest that gripped the city in 2019. Others consider the law—and the subsequent mass arrests of pro-democracy politicians and journalists, the abrupt closure of a pro-democracy newspaper, the expansion of the film censorship ordinance, and the disbanding of civil organizations—to be a grave clampdown on freedom in the city. 

Visitors at Unscheduled Hong Kong. Courtesy of Felix Wong and HKAGA, 2021.

Visitors at Unscheduled Hong Kong. Courtesy of Felix Wong and HKAGA, 2021.

This fear has sparked the biggest exodus the city has seen in decades. Although the government does not keep statistics on how many people have left town permanently, figures show that Hong Kong’s population has dropped by 1.2 percent—nearly 90,000 people—since the law took effect last June. 

“Running a gallery in Hong Kong right now is more challenging than doing so anywhere else in the world,” one gallerist told Midnight Publishing Group News on the condition of anonymity. “There are too many considerations, not just about money and space. Artists are leaving. Some have left quietly, or they are planning to. The environment makes it harder to create.”

Perhaps counterintuitively, these challenges have coincided with a flourishing of business in Hong Kong as a new generation of young Asian buyers pours millions of dollars into art. “The business has been going so well over the recent year or two,” the gallerist continued. “Artists may leave, but galleries are staying.” 

 

“Everyone Wants to Support the Hong Kong Art Community”

Even in the shadow of the national security law, the success of Unscheduled, organized by the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, illustrates how much local dealers are benefitting from a renewed interest in Hong Kong art, which has historically been overlooked by regional collectors. (A similar dynamic was evident at Art Basel Hong Kong in May.)

Homegrown galleries Woaw and Edouard Malingue sold out their solo presentations of work by Charlie Roberts and Eric Baudart respectively. Ben Brown Fine Arts reported strong sales of Miya Ando’s works, priced between $15,000 and $25,000. 

“Everyone wants to support the Hong Kong art community these days,” said Angela Li, whose gallery sold all eight oil paintings at her stand by the young artist Cheung Tsz Hin for prices between a few thousand Hong Kong dollars and HK$70,000 ($8,994). 

The recent commercial success of Hong Kong artists such as Chris Huen, Firenze Lai, and the late Matthew Wong, who was born to a Hong Kong family in Canada and grew up in the city, has helped boost the profile of other local artists. 

Visitors at Unscheduled Hong Kong. Courtesy of Felix Wong and HKAGA, 2021.

Visitors at Unscheduled Hong Kong. Courtesy of Felix Wong and HKAGA, 2021.

“I have a lot more collectors who previously did not collect Hong Kong art but are now interested,” said Kenneth Young, the director of Karin Weber Gallery, which cleverly converted Topshop’s former fitting rooms into mini galleries for its presentation of artists affiliated with the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts.

The inquiries, Young continued, are coming from everywhere: locals and expats living in Hong Kong, foreign collectors who previously collected only Western and Japanese art, and financial institutions looking to boost their holdings. The fact that many of these collectors are considering art in a range of media—as opposed to just paintings—leads him to believe that return on investment is not their only motivation. 

“Maybe they know more about Hong Kong, what has happened in Hong Kong and the art market,” Young said. “A veteran Hong Kong collector tells me, ‘If I call myself a Hong Kong collector, how can I not support Hong Kong artists and Hong Kong galleries?’”      

 

To Stay or Go?

But while collectors may be newly committed to local artists, it remains to be seen whether local artists will remain committed to Hong Kong. 

Reports of a Hong Kong exodus have been making international headlines for months, often accompanied by heartbreaking images of families and friends saying tearful goodbyes at the airport. Emigration has become easier as countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United States relax their visa policies for Hongkongers. Most people keep a low profile about their departure, announcing their relocation on social media only after they have arrived safely—if they go public at all. 

Twice a day, Hong Kong's virtually deserted airport fills with the sound of tearful goodbyes as residents fearful for their future start a new life overseas, mostly in Britain. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Twice a day, Hong Kong’s virtually deserted airport fills with the sound of tearful goodbyes as residents fearful for their future start a new life overseas, mostly in Britain. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)

It is understood that some members of Hong Kong’s arts community have already relocated abroad, mostly to Britain and Taiwan. One gallerist told Midnight Publishing Group News that at least half of the artists they work with have left or are planning to leave. “They come from all age groups,” the gallerist said. “Some of them have children.” 

There are no statistics on exactly how many people leaving the city are arts and culture professionals. But a number of prominent media personalities, political commentators, and journalists have fled, as have two of the six directors of the dystopian anthology film Ten Years, which angered Beijing. Jevons Au moved to Canada a few months ago, while Ng Ka-leung recently announced that he has landed in Britain.

Meanwhile, artist and illustrator Lau Kwong-shing, who has published drawings related to the 2019 protests, relocated to Taiwan after his father warned him not to return to Hong Kong. Critics who remain in the city have gone silent and turned down interview requests.  

The mass arrests of pro-democracy politicians—many of whom have been denied bail and remain behind bars before facing trial—this past spring is what prompted artist Kacey Wong to leave the city. He arrived in Taiwan in late August. “Hong Kong has become a red zone,” Wong told Midnight Publishing Group News from his new studio in Taichung. “I’m now in a green zone. [Taiwan] has 100% freedom, like what we used to have in Hong Kong.” 

Wong sees the crackdown as the collapse of the legal system that once made Hong Kong proud. Known for his political art, specifically performances that became fixtures at the city’s protests, Wong has also been named and shamed by the local state-owned media for “glorifying rioters.”

“I’d be really worried about speaking to the media if I were still in Hong Kong,” Wong said. “I could not function normally.” 

Indeed, speaking up can come with a price in Hong Kong. Recently, Canto-pop singer and activist Denise Ho had a performance cancelled by the Hong Kong Arts Centre, which alleged that “public order or public safety would be endangered” if it were to go ahead.

Protests against the National Security Law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. (Photo by Katherine Cheng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Protests against the National Security Law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. (Photo by Katherine Cheng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Outspoken members of the Arts Development Council have stepped down, with artist Chris Chan citing fear for his personal safety. Political cartoonist Justin Wong temporarily shut down his Facebook page, while the M+ Museum removed an image of Ai Weiwei’s Study of Perspective: Tian’anmen from its website as it awaits authorities’ approval. Five speech therapists were arrested over children’s books that were deemed seditious. The city’s security chief also accused the Hong Kong Journalists Association of infiltrating schools (a charge the association has denied) and demanded a list of its members. 

“My departure is a reflection of a generation of Hongkongers,” Wong said. “This is only the beginning. More people like me will appear in the U.K., Taiwan, Canada, and many other places. Exile literature, exile Hong Kong art, is likely to be big in the future.”

What about the art produced in Hong Kong? “The art market, art fairs will go on. Sales will continue,” Wong predicted. While some artists will opt for coded visual language to address sensitive issues, those who choose to stay are more likely to steer away from political topics entirely, he said. More colorful, decorative works are likely to emerge as a result. 

 

The Future of the Hong Kong Market

Those who choose to remain in Hong Kong—for now, at least—have hope. Willem Molesworth, the former director of de Sarthe and the vice president of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, is planning to open a new contemporary art space in the city in December. 

“There are more gallery openings now than in the pre-pandemic days,” Molesworth said. “The younger generation are becoming serious collectors. More people in Hong Kong are buying art, period.” 

Hong Kong’s cultural infrastructure has also grown considerably in recent years with the opening of public institutions like Tai Kwun, the revamped Hong Kong Museum of Art, and the forthcoming M+. “People recognize the power of art, to pick up where words fail… given what the city has been through,” Molesworth said. 

Auctioneer Danielle So at Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design spring auction in Hong Kong. Courtesy of Phillips.

A number of Molesworth’s clients who buy work by established artists from major international galleries are now collecting emerging local artists as well, he said. Plus, the diverse price range of Hong Kong art points to a healthy, growing market.

The broader question, however, is whether Hong Kong’s art scene can remain vibrant under these conditions long-term. “When you take the critical edge away,” Kacey Wong asked, “is it still art?”

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Is a Bored Ape Tattoo the Ultimate Flex? Since When Is Uranium in a Museum Not OK? + More Questions I Have About the Week’s Art News


Curiosities is a column where I preserve for posterity the “you can’t make this up” parts of the art news.

Below, some questions posed by the events of the last week…

 

1) When Will This Outbreak of Bored Ape Fever Peak?

I am really trying to not make this an NFT news column, but here we are, with the news of the week being Sotheby’s two-lot, $26.2 million online sale of 101 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs (or: pictures of apes dressed like people) and 101 associated Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs (or: pictures of dogs).

A collage of the Bored Apes offered up in Sotheby’s “Ape In!” sale this week. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

A collage of the Bored Apes offered up in Sotheby’s “Ape In!” sale this week. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The 277-year-old auction house referred to the sale as “a testament to the enthusiasm and the strength of the close-knit BAYC [Bored Ape Yacht Club] community.” We are talking about a community whose roots run deep—all the way back to April 2021, making it a venerable classic, with the same deep place in the cultural mind as the Justin Bieber song “Peaches” or the bad new “Mortal Kombat” remake.

Amy Castor has written a great explainer on the Bored Apes, whose most high-profile collectors include Jermaine Dupri and AriZona Iced Tea. I was curious about this “close-knit BAYC community,” so I looked around the internet, and I can assure you that the 5,000-plus shrewdness of Bored Ape collectors (a group of apes is called a “shrewdness”!) is indeed strong and deep. Observing them egg one another on via Twitter has a bit of the vibe of watching a cocaine-fueled game of Truth or Dare at a meet-up of Adult Swim fans.

At this point, everyone wants a piece of the Bored Ape heat, and the hype is producing some very weird mutations. Perhaps the best thing I found in my casual investigation was this Bored Ape tribute rap from Raleigh, North Carolina–based ExtraGramKen.

It’s worth the price of admission for this great verse paying homage to the randomly assigned drip of the Apes alone:

Rainbow, ooh, that’s rare

I love the one that’s rocking the gold hair

Laser eyes, better watch where you stare

So many clothes, my ape don’t know what to wear

Thus far, however, the Bored Ape anthem to beat is probably Bored Ape Rave Club, by mid-tier Dutch electronic act the Bassjackers. They’ve been cranking it every chance they get. Here they are at an outdoor venue in Ford Lauderdale last month.

According to the New Yorker, part of the appeal of the Bored Ape Yacht Club is that members feel like they are getting in on the ground floor of some great new IP that could launch a media empire like Disney. Whether these blank-faced, randomly bedecked simian avatars are the next Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck or the next 12 Oz. Mouse and Drinky Crow remains to be seen.

At least one aspiring webtoon serial, “Yawn of the Apes,” is making the case for BAYC as a vehicle for internet comedy, promising exciting appearances by “apes owned by top influencers in the NFT space (j1mmy.eth, Ronin The Collector, Pranksy) as well as cameos from your everyday NFTer.” Episode 2, “The Ape Factor,” dropped recently, and stars Ape #1092 screeching its way through a BAYC-themed singing show, giving ExtraGramKen and the Bassjackers a run for their money. It has the slightly desperate dada vibe of a lot of internet humor—but, you know, it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen (and it’s an improvement from the first “apisode”).

But perhaps the truest measure of the scene’s frothing enthusiasm is the rash of BAYC fans declaring their undying love for the five-month-old NFT initiative by getting inked with Bored Ape Yacht Club tattoos. I would go so far as to say that the bar has been raised: you are not a true Bored Ape stan unless you have made the definitive crossover from digital to IRL by permanently branding a Bored Ape somewhere visible on your body.

One collector known as @half_ape, who describes herself as a 26-year-old mother of two, posted on September 11, “I want to fill my arm with my favorite NFTs so when people ask, I can explain what an NFT is! And also because I want all this awesome art on my body.” She then showed off her fresh Ape ink.

If you are reading this and thinking that there is something slightly… cultish about the whole thing, well, after @half_ape posted a second image yesterday of her tattoo to prove it was permanent, a chorus of largely delighted BAYC fans took gleeful note of the assault rifle casually posed in the background.

So, I guess what I am saying is: Do not mess with the Bored Ape community. All hail our ape overlords.

 

2. What Could Go Wrong with a Museum Show Devoted to Deadly Toys? 

The promo for the Napa Museum's "Dangerous Toys" show.

The promo for the Napa Museum’s “Dangerous Toys” show.

In Yountville, California, the Napa Valley Museum is scheduled open “Dangerous Games: Treacherous Toys We Loved As Kids” at the end of this month, billing it as “the original exhibition devoted to the wacky, whammo, wonderful world of the Slip ‘N Slide, Lawn Darts, Creepy Crawlers, Clackers, and other tantalizingly toxic toys.”

In an exuberant initial press blast, the show boasted that it would highlight the 1950s-era Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, which sought to inspire children toward careers in the burgeoning field of atomic science. The kit offered samples of actual uranium ore for children to experiment with, as well as beta-alpha, beta, and gamma radiation sources, and a Geiger counter, among other instruments.

A warning on the original U-238 set cautioned potential lil’ nuclear scientists: “Users should not take ore samples out of their jars, for they tend to flake and crumble and you would run the risk of having radioactive ore spread out in your laboratory.” Teasing the show, Napa Valley executive director Laura Rafaty was reported to joke that “to be on the safe side… the museum may have the Napa Bomb Squad visit.”

Alas, the promise of exploring potential irradiation was not the light-hearted draw everyone had hoped. The museum soon issued a corrected press release labeled “OOPS! CLARIFICATION,” stressing, with undimmed enthusiasm, “There are no dangerous chemicals in the exhibit and we’ll let you know if we have to call the bomb squad!” Still, the show has already done its work of hearkening back to a simpler time, when exposing your child to uranium was considered excellent parenting.

 

3) What Is Going on In VR Machu Picchu?

Screenshot of promotional blast for Machu Picchu VR experience.

Screenshot of promotional blast for Machu Picchu VR experience.

Via a press teaser for the big “Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru” show, opening October 16 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, we get a promise of the “First-Ever Virtual Reality Experience of the Mythical Fortress in the Sky.” And let me tell you, you will never have as much flirty fun in your life as this couple immersed in the glories of VR Machu Picchu, as they (I imagine) behold the legendary Intihuatana Stone…

 

4) Are These Guys the Bob Ross of VFX?

Bob Ross fever remains almost as high as Bored Ape fever. And so, enjoy this video from YouTube’s Corridor Crew, digital effects artists who usually critique Hollywood special effects. In this very special ep, the team raced against each other to recreate a Bob Ross painting tutorial with digital animation instead of paint, in the same half-hour time frame. And darned if they don’t do it.

While substantially less soothing than watching the beatific Ross, the VFX duel is fun, and the bucolic landscapes they conjure have a kind of next-gen charm. Not to ruin the ending, but if you’ve always dreamed that someday worlds might collide in a Joy of Painting crossover with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt—well, that day may be closer than you think!

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook: