Sunday Art Brunch: from a podcast about Afrofuturism to a tool that protect artists from the threat of AI-generated plagiarism


Come and be a part of our Sunday Art Brunch series, where we offer a carefully curated selection of art news and developments from around the world. Whether it's updates on upcoming exhibitions, market trends, or insider insights into the industry, we have you covered. Join us to start off your Sunday with a touch of style and stay up-to-date with everything happening in the art world.

What Is Afrofuturism, and Why Is It So Relevant Today

Ellen Gallagher Bird in Hand (2006) Tate © Ellen Gallagher

Artnet has created a podcast exploring the Afrofuturism. It is an art movement that has gained widespread recognition and popularity, unlike many other recent art movements. It has been celebrated and acknowledged in various art forms, such as the installation of an Afrofuturist period room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the success of the blockbuster movie Black Panther and its sequel, and an upcoming exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Afrofuturism is a complex and diverse movement that blends various influences, including experimental jazz, Detroit techno, sci-fi, fantasy, art, and technology. With Black History Month approaching, Ytasha Womack, the author of Afrofuturism, The World of Black Sci-fi and Fantasy Culture, and an active artist in the tradition, provides insights into the Afrofuturist art history, its defining aesthetic, and touchstones, and the reason behind its recent surge of excitement. Artnet News National Art Critic, Ben Davis, interviews Womack to delve into these topics further.

During World War II, paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, and Gauguin were stolen and now Paris's Musée d'Orsay has been ordered to return them

Renoir's 'Marine Guernesey' from 1883 © WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Musée d'Orsay in Paris has been instructed by a French administrative court to return four major paintings by Gauguin, Renoir, and Cézanne, which were stolen during World War II, to the heirs of Ambroise Vollard, a prominent French art dealer of the 20th century. The Art Newspaper reported that the collection of works includes Renoir's Marine Guernesey, painted in 1883, a study for the Judgement of Paris completed around 1908 held by the Cleveland Museum of Art, Gauguin's Still Life with Mandolin from 1885, and a watercolor piece titled Undergrowth from 1890-1892 by Cézanne. The heirs had been seeking the return of the paintings for ten years, after experts allegedly stole seven paintings from Vollard's estate following his death in 1939. The four paintings were determined to have been stolen and were listed as "to be restituted" on a database of art recovered in Germany after the war. However, complications arose due to the circumstances of the case, including family feuding over Vollard's collection, the involvement of a designated executor in the theft, and the fact that Vollard was not Jewish, and his artwork was not seized under the race laws issued by the Nazis. Despite these complications, a magistrate ruled that any property lost during the war must be returned to its original owner, whether looted by the Nazis or not. The Vollard collection has been dispersed to museums and private collections worldwide, leading to ongoing legal battles waged by the heirs over their return.

A discovery has been made at the famous Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico, revealing an ancient housing complex

Temple of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico, 2022; Ph Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via GETTY IMAGES

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a group of structures at the Mayan city of Chichen Itza, which are believed to have formed an elite housing complex, the first of its kind to be found within the city. As ARTnews tell, Chichen Itza is a complex of Maya ruins in Mexico that dates back to the 5th century CE and served as a pilgrimage site for ancient Maya, especially during times of drought. The newly discovered complex, called Chichen Viejo, includes structures such as the House of the Snails, the House of the Moon, and the Palace of the Phalluses. The discovery is expected to provide further insight into the daily life of the city's elite inhabitants.

Addis Fine Art debuts Dawit Adnew's first solo show in Europe, opening the London Gallery's first exhibition of 2023

©Dawit Adnew, Courtesy of Addis Fine Art

Dawit Adnew, born in 1973, is an artist whose paintings create a luxurious and dreamy atmosphere. His work features figures in opulent clothing, surrounded by abundant gardens filled with plants, fruits, and flowers. The overall feeling is one of calm, with hints of twilight, and the use of color and patterns offer a source of pure pleasure similar to that of Matisse or Gauguin. GalleriesNow report that Dawit’s background in textile design informs his work, and his use of patterns and fabric is inspired by his studies in African masks and iconography. He is based in Addis Ababa and studied at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design. Previously, Dawit worked as a textile designer and has participated in various exhibitions in Addis Ababa, Kenya, and Malta.

Game-Changing Technology Empowers Artists to Combat AI-Generated Art Plagiarism

DALL-E is among the biggest AI image generators. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a tool called "Glaze" to protect artists from the threat of AI-generated plagiarism. Glaze "cloaks" images by introducing subtle changes to the defining characteristics of the style, such as brushstroke, palette, texture, or use of shadow. The technology adapts the Fawkes algorithm, built in 2020, which "cloaks" personal photographs so they cannot be used as data for facial recognition models. The researchers pitted "style transfer" AI models against AI image generators and used the minimum amount of "perturbation" necessary to confuse generative models. According to the researchers, the results were much less successful forgeries than those observed when input images were not cloaked. Discover more on Artnet.

Written by
Giulia Manca