I would like to take this opportunity to reinforce my idea: could we have two sets of artwork? One bright, one dark for those of us who would like dark, "uninteresting" screens. (Of course, I don't have anything against multiple, user contributed themes, but the mechanism still needs to be implemented)
The simplest implementation would be with eselect I think (something like "eselect theme dark")... just a matter of updating a couple of symlinks/bash constants (it works fine for setting python, ruby, java, vi, opengl and so many others... the mechanisms are already there, it's just a matter of using them for this as well).
PS: I don't think that masking the package to force a 'downgrade' to the previous artwork version (to which apparently there were fewer complaints) is a viable long-term solution... I am usually a big fan of Ian's work, so I would like to keep being up-to-date, but I guess that the latest change was a bit too drastic.
Linux user since 2004; Sabayon user since 2006