‘Insensitive’ Van Gogh souvenirs faraway from sale amid backlash


Written by Hannah Ryan, CNN

A London artwork gallery has eliminated some souvenirs referring to Vincent Van Gogh from its present store after they had been branded insensitive and regarded to be making mild of the subject of psychological well being.

The Courtauld Gallery, which could be present in Somerset Home within the English capital, is holding its “Van Gogh. Self-portraits” exhibition till Could.

It has come beneath hearth in latest days for a few of the gadgets discovered on sale in its in-person and on-line retailer, together with an eraser within the form of an ear — an obvious reference to the truth that the Dutch painter reduce his left ear off. He later spent a yr on the Saint-Paul de Mausole psychiatric hospital in Saint-Remy in France.

Van Gogh suffered with psychological well being points all through his life and in 1890, on the age of 37, he shot himself.

On Monday, the gallery despatched a press release to CNN which acknowledged the “considerations raised a couple of small variety of gadgets out there in The Courtauld Gallery’s store and on-line retailer.”

“The Courtauld takes psychological well being extraordinarily significantly. It was by no means The Courtauld’s intention to current an insensitive or dismissive perspective to this necessary topic by stocking this stuff,” the assertion learn.

“The gadgets in query kind a small fraction of these made out there as a part of the exhibition assortment. In mild of those considerations, the gadgets will now not be bought in our shops.”

The gallery didn’t verify precisely which gadgets had been faraway from sale, however the eraser will not be out there to buy by way of its on-line store.

In accordance with the Mail on Sunday, one of many presents additionally bought on the exhibition was a £5 ($7) bar of cleaning soap touted as ideally suited for “the tortured artist who enjoys fluffy bubbles.”

A £16 ($22) “emotional first assist package” for “20 key psychological conditions” remains to be on sale.

The gadgets sparked a backlash, significantly regarding the “insensitive” psychological well being points related to the merchandise.

‘Handled as a joke’

Charles Thomson, a co-founder of the Stuckist artwork motion, advised CNN Tuesday: “This case seems like a small however clear instance of the cynicism and commercialism that has affected the fashionable artwork panorama, as psychological well being and psychological sickness are handled as a joke — which they are not — or as a novelty.”

He stated that the sale of “insensitive” presents is reflective of a present perspective in creative circles wherein “folks need to be intelligent and stylish on the expense of getting dignity in artwork.”

Self-described as a “radical artwork motion,” the Stuckism artwork motion was based in 1999 and is devoted to “up to date figurative portray with concepts.”

Thomson added that the incident “says quite a bit” about society’s present perspective in direction of psychological sickness and psychological well being afflictions, including: “We nonetheless do not take it particularly significantly.”

Artwork critic David Lee is the editor of The Jackdaw journal, a self-proclaimed important artwork journal. He advised the Mail on Sunday: “I can not imagine that this is not somebody in advertising and marketing’s try at tasteless humor within the pub after work.”

He referred to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and questioned whether or not the gallery would contemplate it applicable to supply souvenirs referring to the lack of her leg on account of a gangrene an infection.

“That is, in spite of everything, the Courtauld Institute, supposedly the middle of Artwork Historical past within the UK if not Western Europe. Would they, for instance, be ready to promote pencils within the form of a false leg at a Frida Kahlo exhibition?”

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