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MICHAEL SOHN / AFP / Getty Images
MICHAEL SOHN / AFP / Getty Images

Artists' Sneaky Nefertiti Bust Scan May Have Been Faked

MICHAEL SOHN / AFP / Getty Images
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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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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