Weekly Update: Viral Renaissance Edition

What we were reading on the internet this week, from artist responses to the net neutrality repeal to a discussion of memes and Renaissance art.


Our Weekly Update is here to bring you our favorite links from the past week: art and design news you might have missed, must-see stories, and the best new contests and calls for entry.

Major auction houses will stop using “art girls” to sell artwork

Sotheby’s and Christie’s have announced that they will (finally) discontinue the clearly outdated practice of using female-only staff to pose with artworks, and will instead aim for gender parity in their promotional imagery. Frieze reports:

“Auction powerhouses Sotheby’s and Christie’s say that they have dropped the use of only female staff to pose in these promotional photoshoots. Both auction houses now say they will rely on both male and female handlers to feature in the photographs, which are sent to bidders before auctions.

“‘Just as we deal with a huge range of art, so too we want to ensure it is shown to our audiences around the world in as varied and engaging a way as possible so as to best reflect its medium, size and subject matter,’ a spokesperson for Sotheby’s said in a statement sent to frieze. ‘Today’s audiences respond particularly well to behind-the-scenes, or ‘action’ shots showing technicians – be they male or female – at work.’”

Read more at Frieze.

“No, that viral photo is not just like a Renaissance painting”

Writing in The Outline, art historian Rachel Wetzler critiques the popular tendency to compare seemingly any well-composed photojournalistic image to Renaissance art, in light of a recent G7 summit photo by Jesco Denzel that’s been making the rounds on Twitter. Far more than meme reportage, Wetzler’s piece is a compelling exploration of how we understand and categorize photography in general:

“What Denzel’s G7 picture actually looks like is, well, precisely what it is: a well-composed photograph. If it bears any limited resemblance to Renaissance (or Baroque) artworks, it’s because Renaissance Italy is when and where most of the major conventions of Western pictorial composition were first established. Saying that it resembles a Renaissance painting is about as useful as calling any tragic scenario ‘Shakespearean.’”

Read more at The Outline.

Artists respond to the repeal of net neutrality

This week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality, which has many creatives in the United States feeling apprehensive about the future of their work as past protections ensuring equal internet access are now gone. Hyperallergic spoke to digitally-minded artists and experts about what this change might mean:

“Artists whose practices involve the internet — which, in the 21st century, means every artist — are concerned about the effects the repeal may have on their work. From future projects to existing and archived endeavors, the end of net neutrality could have all manner of unexpected and unpleasant impacts on artists’ work with the web.”

Read more at Hyperallergic.

Call for entry: The Ones We Love

The Ones We Love, a project “committed to featuring premier photography that explores human connection and interaction,” is seeking original submissions of portraits for their first online exhibition, scheduled to take place next month.

The Ones We Love has previously sold out several editions of their print magazine, and continues to share beautiful photography content on their digital platform; we’re curious to see what form their online exhibition will take. Submissions close June 20.

Submit your work at The Ones We Love.


Call for entry: The Graduates

Every summer, It’s Nice That highlights a selection of emerging creatives who have graduated (or will graduate) from an undergraduate creative course in 2018. Those chosen will be featured on It’s Nice That and will also get a chance to make career connections and seek guidance from their team. Recent grads have until June 25 to submit a portfolio for consideration. In the past, the award was open only to UK students, but this year The Graduates goes international:

“Considering it’s been ten years, we’ve decided it was time to step it up a notch. We’re happy to announce The Graduates 2018 is open to global applicants, from anywhere in the world, on any creative course. 2018 has seen some frightening change in the world: the UK is leaving the EU, Donald Trump is attempting to close US borders to many, and communities worldwide are becoming increasingly divided; so we want It’s Nice That to be as open and inclusive as possible.”

Find out more and submit your portfolio at It’s Nice That.

Call for entry: Imagining a “Planet B”

Photo platform EyeEm’s latest call for submissions asks photographers to explore a theme that could turn bleak or hopeful, depending on your perspective: the future of life on Earth. Selected submissions will be featured in EyeEm’s online and print magazines:

“We are using up our resources on planet Earth, and climate change is having more and more visible effects on our life here. What if there was a Planet B? What would it look like? What technical advances would make life there possible? Alternatively, what does the future look like on planet Earth?”

Find out more and submit your work at EyeEm.

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Cover image: Detail of Jupiter, Mercury and Virtue (1524) by Italian Renaissance painter Dosso Dosi. Via Wikimedia Commons.

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