Oh, this seems to make the difference. (No, it does not. Hypothesis replaced by a better one, see second half below)
Each Mint 17.x release seems to receive a different package.
Mint 17.1 received mint-artwork-common 1.8.4
.2. It installed without issues here.
Mint 17.0: mint-artwork-common 1.8.1
Mint 17.1: mint-artwork-common 1.8.4
Mint 17.2: mint-artwork-common 1.8.7
Mint 17.3: mint-artwork-common 1.8.9
Could it be those who experience the reported problem when updating to the most recent mint-artwork-common have not installed the most recent dpkg update? dpkg 1.17.5ubuntu5.8
xenopeek mentioned something to the effect that the most recent dpkg is needed to support .xz archives inside .deb software packages here
Admittedly, his post has been written in Dutch. But we all read Dutch fluently, don't we?!
Voor Linux Mint 17.x moet je ook de update voor dpkg installeren. De vorige versie van dpkg op Linux Mint 17.x werkt niet samen met nieuwe xz pakket formaat.
For Linux Mint 17.x, you will have to install the dpkg update as well. The previous dpkg version on Linux Mint 17.x does not support the new .xz package format.