Featured photo: Detail from Ai Weiwei, Water Lilies #1 (2022), made from Lego bricks. Photo: © Ela Bialkowska/OKNO studio; courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua.

A Florida principal has been let go following a class that showed Michelangelo’s David sculpture as part of the lesson plan. Principal Hope Carrasquilla was given an ultimatum by her school board to resign or be fired after three parents complained of the “inappropriate” adult content in a Grade 6 class.

Carrasquilla was shown two letters in a meeting with a school board chair, Barney Bishop, “One was a voluntary resignation, and another a letter that said if she decided not to resign, I was going to ask the board to terminate her without cause. Without cause. We have the right to do that under the contract,” he said.

Carrasquilla resigned on Monday, “no question,” due to the board’s pressure, Bishop said.

“Last year, the school sent out an advance notice about (David). Parents should know: in class, students are going to see or hear or talk about this,” Bishop said. “This year, we made an egregious mistake. We didn’t send that notice.”

“It saddens me that my time here had to end this way,” Carrasquilla said.

The event has brought attention to how classical arts are taught in contemporary education and how the Parental Rights in Education law has been enacted in the classroom.

In response to the news, the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, tweeted that “mistaking art for pornography is just ridiculous.” Nardella invited Carrasquilla to Florence to recognize her on behalf of the city.

The original 16th-century statue of David by Italian artist Michelangelo Buonarroti stands in the Galleria dell’Accademia in central Florence; School leader Hope Carrasquilla; Tallahassee Classical School

Tickets to the sold-out Johannes Vermeer retrospective at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum are selling on the secondary market for hundreds and thousands of dollars. The show sold out within days of its opening on February 10th with mark-ups continuing to spiral out of control on e-commerce sites like eBay.

Vermeer, is the largest-ever exhibition of the Dutch Golden Age master, bringing together 28 of his 37 known paintings through loans from various institutions. It has been lauded as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” by the museum, a catchy marketing strategy that has been hugely successful for the exhibition and institution.

A spokesperson for the Rijksmuseum told Hyperallergic: “Tickets for Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer exhibition can only be purchased through Rijksmuseum’s website and authorized partners such as Get Your Guide and Priotickets. The Rijksmuseum does not endorse reselling of tickets and cannot guarantee the validity of tickets purchased outside of official channels.”

In a February statement, the museum said it had limited the number of tickets “to ensure that the public can have a pleasant visit to the exhibition.”

“We are working hard to ensure more people have the opportunity to see the exhibition,” the statement said.

Authenticity of the tickets sold on online marketplaces may not be verified, so it is buyer beware for the hottest exhibition this spring.

A visitor at the Vermeer exhibition at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (photo by Henk Wildschut/Rijksmuseum)

In a massive undertaking, Ai Weiwei has recreated Monet’s monumental triptych “Water Lilies” (1914–26) out of thousands of lego bricks. To accomplish the nearly 50 foot long contemporary intervention of the impressionist masterpiece, 650,000 bricks in 22 colours were used by the artist.The work is on display at the Design Museum in London ahead of a major new survey opening April 2023. Not just recreating the work, Ai also inserted his own element to the piece,  a “dark portal” that leads to the underground dugout that the artist shared with his father while their family was exiled to Xinjiang during the 1960s.

“Our world is complex and collapsing towards an unpredictable future. It’s crucial for individuals to find a personalized language to express their experience of these challenging conditions,” said Ai Weiwei in a statement. “Without a personal narrative, artistic narration loses its quality.” He added, “Toy bricks as the material, with their qualities of solidity and potential for deconstruction, reflect the attributes of language in our rapidly developing era where human consciousness is constantly dividing.”

Also included in the exhibition is Ai’s “Untitled (Lego Incident)” which takes the form of a “field” on the floor made from Lego bricks. At first, the artist was not able to bulk order the Lego bricks from the Danish company after they put a restriction on the artist in an attempt to quell the use of their products in creating political works. However, after a call out on his Instagram account bringing to light this fact, Ai received many bricks from around the world and the company later lifted its ban.

“Ai Weiwei: Making Sense” is the first exhibition dedicated to Ai’s focus on design and architecture specifically and opens April 7th at the Design Museum.

Ai Weiwei, Water Lilies #1 (2022) made from Lego bricks. Photo: © Ela Bialkowska/OKNO studio; courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua.

Sotheby’s has paused its latest NFT auction, “Natively Digital: Glitch-ism”, after one of the artists included withdrew his work in protest of the lack of diversity in the sale. The auction, originally scheduled for bidding between March 24th–31st, was to bring together leading glitch artists, whose work celebrates the aesthetics of distortion and pixelation. Two days into bidding, however, Patrick Amadon withdrew his work citing the sale’s lack of female-identifying artists after being tagged in a tweet by artist Oona who highlighted this issue.

“The all-male glitch art show promoted by Sotheby’s is yet another example of the existing disparity in the art world,” Oona told Artnet News. “Non-male artwork is consistently undervalued and underrepresented. If we don’t acknowledge and address this problem, it will only continue to worsen.” Dawnia Darkstone, a prominent glitch artist, has also called attention to the fact that the show’s curator Davis Brown had asked to provide analysis of the glitch art scene but denied compensation and inclusion in the show. Additionally, Rosa Menkman, a Dutch art theorist and glitch art creator, had work that was used without permission, in the show’s promotional material.

In response to pressure, Sotheby’s has pledged to “redress the imbalance in representation within the sale, and will restart with a more equitable and diverse group of artists at a later date.” No official date has been announced for the sale as of yet.

Oona importantly notes that, “For far too long, the link between financial worth and artistic merit has been inextricably tied to our cultural understanding of art…This isn’t about having all-female shows or tokenism. It’s about achieving real parity in pay and vision. It’s time for women and non-male artists to be given an equal platform to showcase their talents.”

Patrick Amadon, Static Glitch (2013). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The Vatican’s Parthenon Marble fragments have officially entered the collection of the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece after a repatriation ceremony on March 24th. The three fragments were carved approximately 2,500 years ago and originally adorned the 525-foot frieze on the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens. The highly contested and famous marble pieces were taken between 1801 and 1812, when Thomas Bruce, known as Lord Elgin, removed about half of the sculptures from the site and sold them to the British Museum in London. Though he claimed to have permission from Ottoman officials, the Greek government has been formally calling for their return since 1983 claiming that the works were in fact looted.

Pope Francis has originally discussed returning the fragments that were in the Vatican collection in 2021, however their return was not officially announced until December 2022. The repatriation agreement was finalized earlier in March of this year. The Vatican said that returning the marbles was a “donation” to Greece’s Orthodox Church and a “gesture of friendship.”

“Initiatives like these show the way, how the pieces of the Parthenon can be reunited, healing the wounds caused by barbaric hands so many years ago,” Greek culture minister Lina Mendoni said at the ceremony. “This takes us to the just and moral demand of the entire Greek people, and of this government and its prime minister, for the final return of all the sculptures of the Parthenon.”

Reunification ceremony for three Parthenon fragments from the Vatican Museum, at the Acropolis Museum in Athens Greece on March 24, 2023. Photo: Costas Baltas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images