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2022 in Art: The good, the bad and the ugly

Dec. 16, 2022
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2022 can be resumed as a series of unexpected and messy occurrences in the art world. Society finally went back to normal after two years of pandemic and post-pandemic sequels, but with numerous war conflicts and inflation rates increasing more than ever at rapid pace, the art world has somehow maintained its essence and own narrative.


Art fairs happening every few weeks all over the world, Anna Sorokin a.k.a Anna Delvey becoming everyone’s favorite con artist, The Venice Biennal, the downfall of NFTs Apes and, of course, how can we forget? Cakes and soups making their way into the most emblematic museums. 


We can say that 2022 has had pretty iconic moments and events that have defined it, and with the year coming to an end we want to take a look back on what shaped it. 


Museums vs. Climate Activists.


It was 1964 when Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message”, well on May 30th 2022 this phrase was taken to heart. On that day a story broke the news headlining everywhere, a man dressed as an old woman had thrown a cake at the Mona Lisa, everyone was absolutely scandalized. 


The shock-factor the anonymous climate activist was seeking definitely came into effect, which caused even more climate activists to use this technique to get their message across. Van Gogh was the next victim, then Goya, Gustav Klimt was not left unharmed either. The activists raise their voice on the irony between the insistence on the perseverance of art versus the passivity when it comes to preserving our planet, and it has certainly become one of the most defining moments in art this year.



Anna Sorokin a.k.a Anna Delvey


The premiere of the show “Inventing Anna” on Netflix in February created a new influencer in the art world scene. Anna Sorokin was convicted of embezzlement and fraud; she had created a false life under the name Anna Delvey to get her way into the jet-set of New York’s finest circles. After the premiere of the show, Anna had no time to waste and produced a series of sketches and drawings for an art exhibition titled “Allegedly” in which she made a surprise virtual appearance. 



The Bored Ape NFT Scam


During the NFT craze, a curious occurrence was happening. Numerous A-list celebrities were going on talk shows to promote their Bored Ape NFT: Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg or DJ Khaled are just some of the many celebrities that were endorsing their followers to buy these NFTS.


However, the recent drop in the value of NFT digital assets and cryptoassets has generated a class action lawsuit against Bored Ape and Yuga Labs, the creators behind Bored Ape. According to the lawsuit, the celebrities were all paid to market Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs at the midst of the NFT mania, contributing in pushing prices for what became the most popular and elusive collection to remarkable highs. The most expensive Bored Ape NFT, for example, sold for $3.4 million.



AI Art, technological genius or plagiaristic enemy?


AI Art has definitely been a protagonist throughout 2022, social media has been flooding with selfies turned into anime characters or transforming their biggest fantasies into an image with just a phrase with the program DALL-E.


Though many artists have been using these platforms to expand their creative frontiers, a topic we have recently tackled on UVNT News (link al artículo), controversy has also sparked regarding plagiarism. It turns out many of these programs have been trained to create artworks and images through a database from creations of artists.


Recently, many artists have expressed their anger after finding out their work in AI Image libraries. Though each AI is unique in its operation, some believe that AIs are not creating new works, but rather making derivative works based on existing imagery, resulting in a very complicated legal conflict with a lot of pitfalls regarding copyright.



The viral TEFAF Robbery


The European Fine Art Fair, established in 1988, is a celebration of fine arts from all ages and all over the world that takes place in Maastricht. This year’s edition was stunned when two armed robbers broke into the venue and started hitting a display window with a sledgehammer. The video of the attempted robbery went viral on the internet, and started to raise a debate about the importance of security at these types of events.



The resurgence of Luna Luna Park


There was a time when the ideal amusement park for art enthusiasts existed, it was during the summer of 1987 in Hamburg, Germany when the traveling art carnival Luna Luna emerged. Viennese artist André Heller merged avant-garde and popular culture creating one of the most extravagant carnivals in the world with carousels and ferris wheels created by iconic artists like Keith Haring or Jean Michel Basquiat. However, this oniric-like traveling art carnival came to end that same year, becoming just a memory.


But, it is not all bad news. In a Los Angeles warehouse, Luna Luna’s art-covered attractions and rides are being restored and repolished in preparation for their North American debut. The mobile art carnival will return in January 2024 thanks to the united efforts of Heller, his son, and Canadian musician Drake, whose production company DreamCrew held shares of the investment that is close to 100 million USD. 



Women of The Venice Biennale


One of the world’s most prestigious international art events had a very astounding success with the work of 213 artists from 58 countries. Although the event’s main attraction was on the impressive housed installations in the city’s Giardini and Arsenale, for the first time in history women are the protagonists of the Biennale.


At Venice female artists outnumber men by a ratio of nine to one. Women took home both of the top honors at this year’s edition, which came as no surprise. Simone Leigh was awarded the Golden Lion for her participation in Cecilia Alemani’s major exhibition, where she displayed the 19-foot-tall sculpture Brick House (2019), previously on display at the end of New York’s High Line. Another black female artist, Sonia Boyce, was also awarded with a Golden Lion for her work at the British Pavilion, an installation honoring black women who have marked the history of British Music.