The ZKM Media Museum
in Karlsruhe, Germany has been displaying a living replica of Van Gogh's ear. It was created by artist Diemut Strebe, working together with scientists at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Strebe took cells from one of Van Gogh's descendants and grew them into an ear replica, using a 3-D printer to create the shape. [wsj.com
This recalls Hugh Troy's prank from 1935
in which he molded some dried beef into the shape of an ear, mounted it in a velvet-lined box, and surreptitiously put it up on display in the Museum of Modern Art during an exhibition of Van Gogh's work, along with a sign that identified it as the ear Van Gogh cut off and sent to his mistress.
Although both Strebe and Troy created and displayed whole ears, there's controversy over how much of his ear Van Gogh cut off. Was it most of the ear or only the lower part of it? No one is entirely sure. There's also a theory that Van Gogh didn't even cut off his ear, but instead had it sliced off while fencing with Paul Gauguin during an argument.