In 2000, Museum director Graham W.J. Beal said, "The 315,350 tickets sold totalled
$3.million and attracted visitors from 48 states and as far away as Russia and
Japan. Some $8oo,ooo was racked up in museum shop sales and $300,000 in
food services; museum membership increased 20 percent for $750,000 in
additional revenue. "  Add that to the bucks spent at hotels, restaurants and amenities by tourists, suburbanites and others who ventured in to the city to see the show, and the Detroit News felt justified in proclaiming,

"Van Gogh exhibit is $93 million work of art."

The September 22, 2000, article goes on to remind us "Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime..." and speculation about his motive for suicide always considers his poverty and guilt resulting from being a financial drain on his younger brother, Theo, and Theo's family.
        Yet W. Frank Fountain, president of the DaimlerChrysler Fund, sponsor of the exhibition, said "Van Gogh is powerful proof that art and economics are compatible" 

At last, when it comes to money, you too, like Mr. Fountain, can stick it in van Gogh's ear.


A giant head of Vincent van Gogh,  modeled after his "Self-portrait with Straw Hat" (below left) in the collection of the Detroit Institute Arts, stands seven feet tall on its pedestal.  Naturally, his right ear is missing, but his left ear has a large enough opening that money can be dropped into the head.  This causes him to respond with Dutch accented observations about life and art.
There are over one hundred and thirty responses.

It is created of pigmented epoxy fiberglass over a steel frame by artist Jim Pallas.  Unlike the aforementioned $93 million, most of the money this "van Gogh" shakes loose goes to charity..

c. Detroit institute of Arts


When this sculpture was field tested at Grosse Pointe's Art on the Pointe festival in 2002, it received over $60 a day in donations. The sculpture has also been field tested at Walk and Squawk's performance space in Detroit,  the Furniture Factory, the  Robert Maniscalco Gallery  and Detroit's TasteFest 2001.

More demented van Gogh ear links (except the last one which is very serious):

made possible by support from Detroit Art Works

Pallas home page
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