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Facebook User, Acción Ortográfica
Facebook User, Acción Ortográfica

The Graffiti Grammarians Correcting Street Art in Ecuador

Facebook User, Acción Ortográfica
Facebook User, Acción Ortográfica

Graffiti artists in Quito, Ecuador better bone up on their spelling and grammar, lest a group of vigilante street-art editors take a can of red spray paint to their tags. Since November 2014, Acción Ortográfica Quito has been patrolling the streets for graffiti in need of a little copy editing.

Their name references Acción Poetica, a movement that began in Monterrey, Mexico in 1966 and whose members have been graffiting love poems and quotes about friendship and optimism across Latin America for decades. The intentions of Acción Poetica are noble, but their grammar isn't always up to snuff—which is why Acción Ortográfica frequently targets their graffiti for correction.

The group is comprised of three men in their 30s, one of whom is primarily responsible for running their active social media accounts while the other two correct grammar mistakes out on the streets. Although they describe what they do as trying "to take a vandalistic act and put some order in what’s anarchic by nature," that doesn't mean they're legally in the clear. To avoid run-ins with the police, Acción Ortográfica works at night. First, they drive around scouting error-riddled graffiti, then the two active members grab a beer while they discuss edits. Afterwards, they return to carry out the corrections.

In an anonymous conversation with COLORS Magazine, they defended their efforts, saying, "it’s a public service and a moral obligation. We’re against spelling vandalism and we won’t break nor give up until we see a society free of spelling mistakes."

Si en tus besos encontrara la escencia de vida, sería no besarte el peor pecado que cometería.#HéroesAnónimos

Posted by Acción Ortográfica on Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Their edits range from simple first letter capitalization to a full-sentence overhaul. Their first job contained 13 errors in just two lines of text.

"There’s a big difference in saying: ‘No quiero verte’ (I don’t want to see you) and ‘No, quiero verte’ (No, I want to see you)," one of the members said. "Many times, someone does not realize how a comma or an oversight can completely change the meaning of a sentence. It can change your life."

Recently, they've taken their copy editors' eye to Twitter, where they've corrected spelling and grammar mistakes in tweets by Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa—although they stipulate that their concern is strictly linguistic, not political.

Their plans for the future involve spreading beyond Quito and launching a hotline where passersby can leave tips about graffiti in need of a little editing.

"We recently received a complaint about a nice graffiti that talks about how unbelievable a mom’s love is. We think it’s important that the message get through."

[h/t COLORS Magazine]

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Museum Discovers Classic Renaissance Painting Hidden in Its Own Collection
Andrea Mantegna circa 1475
Andrea Mantegna circa 1475
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A long-lost painting by a master artist of the Renaissance was recently rediscovered in the storeroom of an Italian museum near Milan, according to The Art Newspaper and The Wall Street Journal.

The painting in question, Andrea Mantegna’s 15th century The Resurrection of Christ, was found by a curator at an art museum in the city of Bergamo. The Accademia Carrara has been in possession of the Mantegna painting since the 19th century, but long ago discounted it as a copy. While working on a catalogue for the museum in March, Accademia Carrara curator Giovanni Valagussa took note of the tempera-on-panel work and began to investigate its origins.

Count Guglielmo Lochis purchased the painting in 1846, cataloguing it as an original Mantegna; it was bequeathed to the museum as part of his collection after his death in 1859. But decades later, other experts cast doubt on the originality of the work, first re-attributing it to the artist’s son, and later suggesting that it was a copy that was not even made in his workshop. The museum removed it from display sometime before 1912, and it has been in storage for more than a century.

A painting depicting Jesus rising from the dead while soldiers look on
The Resurrection of Christ
Andrea Mantegna, Accademia Carrara

Upon inspecting the painting, Valagussa suspected it was more than just a copy. The painting features a small cross at the bottom of the image that looked disconnected from the rest, and the structure of the back of the painting made it seem like it might be part of a larger work. Valagussa tracked down another Mantegna painting, Descent Into Limbo, that seemed to fit underneath—the paintings are likely two halves of one image that was cut apart.

The Accademia Carrara also conducted an infrared survey of The Resurrection of Christ, discovering that the artist drew nude figures first, then painted over them with images of clothed soldiers, a technique that Mantegna was known for.

A world expert on Mantegna, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Keith Christiansen, did his own analysis and believes the painting in Bergamo to be an authentic, high-quality Mantegna. That means that the Accademia Carrara’s forgotten wood panel, previously insured for around $35,000, is probably worth between $25 million and $30 million.

The museum hopes to one day bring the two parts of the painting, The Resurrection of Christ and the privately owned Descent Into Limbo, together in an exhibition in the future.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

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USPS Is Issuing Its First Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps This Summer
USPS
USPS

Summertime smells like sunscreen, barbecues, and—starting June 20, 2018—postage stamps. That's when the United States Postal Service debuts its first line of scratch-and-sniff stamps in Austin, Texas with perfumes meant to evoke "the sweet scent of summer."

The 10 stamps in the collection feature playful watercolor illustrations of popsicles by artist Margaret Berg. If the designs alone don't immediately transport you back to hot summer days spent chasing ice cream trucks, a few scratches and a whiff of the stamp should do the trick. If you're patient, you can also refrain from scratching and use them to mail a bit of summer nostalgia to your loved ones.

Since it was invented in the 1960s, scratch-and-sniff technology has been incorporated into photographs, posters, picture books, and countless kids' stickers.

The first-class mail "forever" stamps will be available in booklets of 20 for $10. You can preorder yours online before they're unveiled at the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Austin's Thinkery children's museum next month.

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