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Anyone who still doubts that internet memes can have an impact on the real world should pay a visit to the small town of Borja, in northeastern Spain. Thousands of tourists have been doing just that ever since local amateur art restorer Cecilia Giménez blessed us with Beast Jesus. According to a new report in the New York Times, about 150,000 people have visited the town of 5,000 and made the trek to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy, the 16th-century chapel that houses the beloved fresco since it first came to international attention in 2012.
Many locals were initially unhappy about the attention Giménez had brought to the town, but they have since come around and made of her something akin to a new patron saint. “The impact of ‘Ecce Homo’ has been really great for businesses,” José M. Baya, owner of local eatery La Bóveda, told the Times. His business has been so successful he’s planning to open a second restaurant. “Sadly, everyone heads to look at a painting that, frankly, is ugly.”
Aesthetic judgments aside, Borja has embraced Giménez and her handiwork. She is the focus of a local holiday every year on August 25 to commemorate the day of her momentous restoration effort. She judges an “Ecce Homo” painting competition in which local children paint their own versions of the fresco. And an image of the work appears on the municipal lottery tickets. The increased visibility has also been a boon to the nearby Museum of Colegiata, which has seen its attendance increase tenfold to 70,000 visitors per year.
In spite of the trickle-down effects of “Ecce Homo” tourism, some locals still don’t get it. “I can’t explain the reaction,” Miguel Arilla, Borja’s mayor, told the Times. “I went to see ‘Ecce Homo’ myself, and still I don’t understand it.”
The art world has paid attention to other artists from the same era, but we have not done the same with Sonia Gechtoff, and it is time that we did.
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These four artists dig into the cultural and geologic history of the enclave of Staten Island to produce work that resonates with the core of bell hooks’s commendation to love.
As acceptance of digital art grows, there is also a need to validate quality and recognize artists who explore radical ideas and achieve creative breakthroughs.
On December 13, learn about the Sam Fox School’s graduate programs in Visual Art and Illustration & Visual Culture, as well as the university’s competitive financial aid packages.
Anthology Film Archives’ complete retrospective of the influential Canadian experimental filmmaker includes many exceptionally rare titles.
Breuer’s Bohemia is centered around the life and work of Marcel Breuer, but touches upon an entire cohort of Modernist influencers.
Located in a historic industrial manufacturing facility in Utica, New York, this sculpture-centric program is accepting applications through January 15, 2022.
A conversation with Richard Kraft about his artist book in which he created penalty flags for nearly 10,000 of Trump’s misdeeds
The guidelines are specifically meant to combat a form of online harassment known as doxing.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month.