A Man Fell Into a Giant Black Hole at Anish Kapoor’s Latest Art Installation

British contemporary artist Anish Kapoor (L) and and curator Suzanne Cotter stand next to his artwork 'Descent into limbo' during the opening of his exhibition entitled 'Works, thoughts, experiments' at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, on July 6, 2018
MIGUEL RIOPA, AFP/Getty Images

It was only a matter of time, really. Since opening to the public on July 6, 2018, there has been a gaping hole in the middle of renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor’s installation at the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal. The catch? It’s actually not a hole at all, but a piece of art, and is meant to be there. Still, despite warning signs to be careful around the piece and staff members monitoring guests who approach the artwork, last week a 60-year-old man managed to fall right into the Vantablack installation.

Titled “Descent Into Limbo,” the 8-foot hole “is an expression of Kapoor’s interests in the formal and metaphoric play between light and darkness, inside and outside, the contained and the infinite, which underpins his sculptural oeuvre,” according to the description affixed to the wall next to the sculpture. While it’s not known whether the unnamed museum-goer had the chance to appreciate Kapoor’s intention before taking a tumble, we know that he’s on the mend.

“An accident happened,” museum press officer Fernando Rodrigues Pereira told artnet News, noting that the installation would be temporarily closed in the wake of the incident. Approximately one week after the accident, which occurred on August 13, Rodrigues Pereira noted that the injured party “has already left the hospital and he is recovering well.” Meanwhile, The Art Newspaper reported that the individual—who was visiting from Italy—is “almost ready to go home.” One can only imagine that this is one vacation he won’t soon forget.

[h/t artnet News]

If You Want to Be a Better Learner, Try Drawing (Even If You're Bad at It)

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iStock

Doodling all over your notebook while sitting through class or a meeting might not be so bad after all. According to design historian and art professor D.B. Dowd, even the crudest of drawings can facilitate learning.

Dowd recently spoke with Quartzy about his new book, Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice. In it, he aims to dispel the myth that drawing is only for skilled artists or crafty Pinterest-loving types. Whether you’re doodling a smiley face or penning a map while giving directions, drawing is suitable for everyone, he argues.

“We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity,” he writes in his book. “This essential confusion has stunted our understanding of drawing and kept it from being seen as a tool for learning above all else.”

Science seems to back this up. Over a century ago, science students were required to take drawing lessons in order to “learn to observe.” With this in mind, biology professor Jennifer Landin started introducing drawing back into her lesson plans.

“Drawing is merely making lines and dots on paper. If you can write your name, you can draw,” she writes for Scientific American. “But we all take shortcuts when we see; often our brains fool us, and we skip over most visual details. Since some species of dragonfly can only be distinguished from others by the vein patterns in their wings, skipping details is not an option.”

In addition to helping you become a better observer (and thus a better learner), one 2009 study found that drawing also improves memory. Test subjects who doodled while listening to a list of names and places scored 29 percent higher on a surprise quiz of the information than those who didn’t doodle. And while smartphones and laptops can be a distraction, doodling helps you concentrate. The researchers behind one 2011 study theorized that doodling may stimulate “default networks” in the brain, which promote activity in the cerebral cortex even when there are no outside stimuli.

Classroom research has also shown that drawing can be a useful learning aid. When a student is asked to draw a concept like sound waves, for instance, they’re forced to think about it more creatively. Plus, they often enjoy the assignment more, which can’t hurt. So go ahead—break out the pencil and paper and start doodling. It might be good for your brain.

[h/t Quartzy]

New Podcast Opens Up the Cold Case of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Art Heist

Ryan McBride, AFP/Getty Images
Ryan McBride, AFP/Getty Images

One of the newest true crime podcasts gathering buzz doesn't involve a murder or kidnapping—instead, it investigates one of the most infamous art heists in history. Last Seen, a collaboration between WBUR and The Boston Globe, looks at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft, a case that has gone unsolved for 28 years.

The story begins on March 18, 1990, when two thieves posing as policemen infiltrated the Boston art museum and stole 13 paintings off the walls. The works are from such master artists as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Manet, and are estimated to have a cumulative value exceeding $600 million.

The scope of the heist alone would have made it historically significant, but the story became even more interesting after the crime was committed. The case never moved forward, despite a drawn-out investigation and a $10 million reward for the return of the stolen pieces. That didn't mean there weren't suspects: Two unnamed men were identified, but they were killed shortly after the theft, and according to the popular theory, information regarding the location of the stolen artworks died with them.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum case is still filled with mysteries, but the new podcast aims to make the story a little clearer. Hosted by WBUR producers and reporters Kelly Horan and Jack Rodolico, and with contributions from Stephen Kurkjian, who spent years covering the heist for The Boston Globe, Last Seen follows the saga from the night the crime was committed to today. It features interviews with investigators who worked on the case and people who were employed by the museum in the early 1990s, some of whom have never before agreed to speak publicly on the subject.

The first episode of Last Seen debuted on WBUR September 17, and the series will include 10 episodes in total.

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