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Sum of the Arts

Azuma Makoto, "Shiki I x Underwater" (2015) (courtesy the artist and Zhulong Gallery)
Azuma Makoto, “Shiki I x Underwater” (2015) (courtesy the artist and Zhulong Gallery)

Sum of the Arts is a periodic tabulation of numbers floating around the art world and beyond.

  • Height in feet of a bonsai pine tree artist Azuma Makota took on a decade journey around the world, including one trip 30,000 meters above the Earth = 5
  • Miles of Nile Valley rock art from prehistoric to modern times added to the World Monuments Fund Watch List of endangered sites = 3
  • Number of artworks in off-limits secure government locations revealed by the new US General Services Administration online database = 6
  • Years Edgar Degas’s “L’Absinthe” (1876) was hidden from view after a terrible critical reception = 16 (its return in 1892 was equally reviled)
  • Metric tons of soil installed in the Tate Modern’s turbine hall as part of Abraham Cruzvillegas’s project, which will grow whatever plants scattered by visitors or the wind = 23
  • Number of years art was created in caves carved by Buddhists at the edge of the Gobi desert in China = 1,000
  • Number of bamboo sticks artist Joko Avianto wove into a giant basket over the façade of a Frankfurt museum = 1,500
  • Year in which Isaac Newton predicted the world would end = 2060
  • Number of artworks from the defunct Corcoran Gallery of Art now in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art = 8,000
  • Number of fake ballots that helped pass a bond measure to raze waterfront property and build the St. Louis Arch, which turns 50 this month = 46,000
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