(MENAFN – BreezyScroll)
A London art gallery was recently criticized for poking fun at mental health by selling memorabilia with blatant references to artist Vincent Van Gogh and his difficult life.
Many people around the world know the story of van Gogh’s loss of left ear. The artist argued with fellow artist Paul Gauguin. After that, he cut off his ear and became known as “the tortured artist”.
The Courtauld Gallery in London has been criticized for displaying Van Gogh memorabilia. It included the artist’s famous self-portrait with a bandaged ear, among other works. The memorabilia was also part of a show featuring some of the artist’s best-known works.
According to the CNN story, the gallery chose socks, scarves, puzzles, postcards, as well as printed souvenirs of Van Gogh’s famous paintings as keepsakes. However, he has now removed several trinkets from his gift shop after being criticized on social media for being disrespectful.
The gallery issued a statement to CNN acknowledging “concerns over a small number of items available in the Courtauld Gallery’s boutique and online store,” according to reports.
“The Courtauld takes mental health very seriously. It was never the intention of The Courtauld to present an insensitive or dismissive attitude towards this important subject by storing these items,” the statement read, as mentioned in the report.
“The objects in question represent only a small fraction of those made available as part of the exhibition’s collection. In light of these concerns, the items will no longer be sold in our stores,” he continued.
Previously, critics had attacked the gallery for trying to exploit sanity by downplaying the artist’s lifelong issues. This ultimately led to his death by suicide at the age of 37 in 1890.
“Mental illness is no joke”
One bar of soap had the tagline “ideal for a tortured performer who loves fluffy bubbles.” An “emotional first aid kit” transformed into a “box of wise emergency advice for 20 key psychological situations”. These were among the items for sale.
“Suicide is no joke, and mental illness is no joke,” Charles Thomson, co-founder of artist group Stuckist, also told the Daily Mail. “It’s superficial, mean and insensitive. What’s next? Van Gogh’s suicide pistol?
Art critic David Lee is the editor of The Jackdaw magazine. He was also quoted as saying: ‘I can’t believe this isn’t someone in the attempt at the marketing of tasteless humor in the pub after work. Would they, for example, be ready to sell pencils in the shape of a fake leg at a Frida Kahlo exhibition? Kahlo, a Mexican artist, had his leg amputated due to gangrene.
The exhibition ‘Van Gogh. The self-portraits are exhibited at the gallery until May 2022.
Art Gallery of London Mental Health Van Gogh
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