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Artists' Sneaky Nefertiti Bust Scan May Have Been Faked

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MICHAEL SOHN / AFP / Getty Images

The art world deals with fraud all the time, but those cases rarely involve artists lying about owning a replica of a famous work. In a bizarre twist of events, Popular Science reports that the two German artists who claimed to surreptitiously scan the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum likely never copied the statue.

Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles said they'd smuggled Kinect scanners into the museum last October underneath their jackets and scarves. They claimed to have made a copy of the famous limestone and stucco statue, and later released the collected dataset online for anyone to download and print. Media outlets (including mental_floss) caught wind of their efforts and published a video of the two scanning the bust. However, Cosmo Wenman, an artist and 3D-scanning consultant, investigated the scan in a blog post, and noted that Kinect scanners produce lower-quality scans than the file the artists released for public download. He believes that the model they released was actually based on an already-existing bust of Nefertiti, which had been made for the museum by German scanning company TrigonArt.

“In my opinion, it’s highly unlikely that two independent scans of the bust would match so closely," Wenman wrote. "It seems even less likely that a scan of a replica would be such a close match. I believe the model that the artists released was in fact derived from the Neues Museum’s own scan." Since the scan has never been released to the public, Wenman says that the anonymous third-party collaborator who allegedly processed the scan for the artists may have played a part in the con.

According to Boing Boing, Wenman has scanned and posted many artworks for anyone to download, model, and print—meaning we should probably take his word for it that the entire Nefertiti stunt was bogus. “It’s unfortunate that this story was based on a falsehood,” he wrote on his blog. "With any luck, though, this will all be for the best, and there will be increased scrutiny of museums’ custody of data, and it will lead to increased public demand for museums to make their 3D data freely available to the public.”

[h/t Popular Science]

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Never Buy Drawing Paper Again With This Endlessly Reusable Art Notebook
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Art supplies can get pricey when you’re letting your kid’s creativity run wild. But with an endlessly reusable notebook, you never have to worry about running out of paper during that after-school coloring session.

The creators of the erasable Rocketbook Wave have come out with a new version of their signature product meant especially for color drawings. The connected Rocketbook Color notebook allows you to send images drawn on its pages to Google Drive or other cloud services with your phone, then erase the pages by sticking the whole notebook in the microwave. You get a digital copy of your work (one that, with more vibrant colors, might look even better than the original) and get to go on drawing almost immediately after you fill the book.

An animated view of a notebook’s pages changing between different drawings.

There’s no special equipment involved beyond the notebook itself. The Rocketbook Color works with Crayola and other brands’ washable crayons and colored pencils, plus dry-erase markers. The pages are designed to be smudge-proof, so turning the page won’t ruin the art on the other side even if you are using dry-erase markers.

Rocketbook’s marketing is aimed at kids, but adults like to save paper, too. Break away from the adult coloring books and go free-form. If it doesn’t quite work out, you can just erase it forever.

The notebooks are $20 each on Kickstarter.

All images courtesy Rocketbook

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This Amazing Clock Has a Different Hand for Every Minute of the Day
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In the video below, you can watch Japanese ad agency Dentsu transform passing time into art. According to Adweek, the project was commissioned by Japanese stationery brand Hitotoki, which produces crafting materials. To celebrate the value of handmade items in an increasingly fast-paced world, Dentsu created a film advertisement for their client depicting their goods as a stop-motion clock.

The timepiece ticks off all 1440 minutes in the day, and was assembled in real-time against a colored backdrop during a single 24-hour take. Its "hands" were crafted from different combinations of some 30,000 disparate small items, including confetti, cream puffs, tiny toys, silk leaves, and sunglasses.

"In a world where everything is so hectic and efficient, we wanted to bring the value of 'handmade' to life," explains Dentsu art director Ryosuke Miyashita in a press statement quoted by Stash Media. "We created different combinations of small Hitotoki brand items to express each and every minute."

You can check out a promotional video for the project below, which details the arduous crafting process, or view a real-time version of the clock here.

[h/t Adweek]

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