German museum exhibits Van Gogh’s ear replica grown from relative’s cells

Jonathan Jones in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_674 Jun. 05 10.55Vincent van Gogh's ear has returned from the grave – or rather, the ditch or dump where the grisly piece of flesh he severed from the side of his head in December 1888 probably ended up. Van Gogh left it at a brothel in Arles. Presumably the prostitutes chucked it out with the rubbish.

Now it has been regrown from genetic material supplied by the great-great-grandson of Vincent's brother Theo. It is on display at a museum in Germany and Diemut Strebe, the artist behind this resurrection of art's most famous missing body part, hopes to tour it to New York. Will the ear get its own seat on the plane? Will it become an art world star?

Van Gogh's ear is one of the great icons of modern culture. When Allen Ginsberg called a poem Death to Van Gogh's ear! the severed ear of this painter and letter-writer of compulsive beauty and melancholy was already such a totem of popular culture that Ginsberg was sick of it. In the 1956 film Lust for Life, the harrowing ear removal is acted out by Kirk Douglas. This artistic gesture of self-harm has since then become a cliche of extreme creative behaviour.

More here.