ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


45,000-Year-Old Painting, World’s Oldest Non-Abstract Art, Found In Indonesia

"Four years ago, scientists came upon the purplish pig adorning the walls of a cave hidden in a highland valley on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. They now estimate that it was painted … 45,500 years ago. If that date is correct, the find in Leang Tedongnge cave could represent the earliest known example of figurative art." - Smithsonian Magazine

Caligula’s Pleasure Garden Has Been Unearthed And Will Open To Public

The remains of part of the notorious emperor's Horti Lamiani (as it was then called) were excavated from under the rubble of a derelict 19th-century apartment building. Starting this spring, Italy's culture ministry will display those remains in what has been named the Nymphaeum Museum of Piazza Vittorio. - The New York Times

Ancient Buildings At Palmyra, Destroyed By ISIS, May Really Get Rebuilt

"The ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, which was severely damaged by ISIS militants in 2015, appears to be heading toward reconstruction. In November, a memorandum of understanding on rebuilding the city's Triumphal Arch was signed between Syria's Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums and Russia's Stone Industry Association, which is based in Yekaterinburg." - The Art Newspaper

San Francisco Art Institute Cannot Sell Its Diego Rivera Mural: It’s Being Landmarked

"The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to initiate landmark designation for the 1931 Diego Rivera mural The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City located inside the San Francisco Art Institute's Chestnut Street campus. … The SFAI board of trustees was considering removing and selling the mural, appraised at $50 million, to cover the institution's looming $19.7 million debt." - KQED (San Francisco)

Smithsonian Gives Up On Long-Planned $2 Billion Redesign

"When the Smithsonian introduced a futuristic plan for the 17 acres around its iconic administration building, the National Historic Landmark known as the Castle, officials predicted it would be a game-changer that would remake the structure into a visitor gateway to the storied institution. Six years later, a new Smithsonian administration has jettisoned the eye-popping elements of the $2 billion design by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, opting instead for a dramatically downsized version." - The Washington Post

For-Profit Immersive Museums Are Investing Big For After The Pandemic

While traditional museums are discussing closures and mergers, the for-profit industry around experiential or immersive art is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a business that currently has no audience in the U.S. because of the pandemic. - The New York Times

Miami Museum Planned Exhibition As Investigation. That Proved Problematic

By the time the exhibition closed in March, because of the pandemic, the college had scaled back a plan to host programming that directly focused on the investigation. Forensic Architecture complained strongly but without success. Ultimately, the college told the curator who had coordinated the exhibition, Sophie Landres, that her contract would not be renewed. - The New York Times

Louvre Reports 72 Percent Drop In Admissions For 2020

The museum has reported one of its worst attendance figures ever, with around 2.7 million visitors—a 72% drop compared to 9.6 million in 2019. - The Art Newspaper

Images From An Insurrection

Whether or not these fever-dream images show the actual point of insurrection or are, more likely, the inevitable byproduct of twenty-first century-rioters armed with smartphones and social-media accounts, their power shouldn’t be underestimated. These pictures will now constitute a powerful folklore for a whole subculture of whacked-out, anti-establishment far-righters, the latest chapter in alt-right visual storytelling which includes the equally absurd Pepe The Frog. - Art Review

Check Out The Massive Investments In An Immersive Art Future

Can the arts return after more vaccinations and herd immunity? The investors certainly think so. "While traditional museums are discussing closures and mergers, the for-profit industry around experiential or immersive art is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a business that currently has no audience in the U.S. because of the pandemic. It’s a gambit that has surprised market watchers." - The New York Times

Instagram Has Turned Into A Source Of Funding, And Patronage, For Indigenous Beadwork Artists

When artists drop collections on Instagram, they often sell out in a matter of minutes. Beadwork takes time; there's no way to mass-produce, and that's part of the value. For artist Jaymie Campbell, Anishinaabe, from Curve Lake First Nation near Ontario, "the amount she puts into every piece means it isn’t possible to fully scale up to meet demand, and that’s OK. Each earring or pendant is 'a piece of me, and my family and my story.'" - The New York Times

Homage To A Mentor And A Muse

Kambui Olojimi, an artist from the Brooklyn neighborhood Bedford-Stuyvesant, addresses his childhood and his block, and the idea of collective memory, in his work - especially in 177 portraits of the block president, Ms. Arline. "Initiated in grief, the series is a mourning practice that has carried Mr. Olujimi through the political and social turmoil of the last few years, opening new artistic directions for him. But it is also an experiment in memory work — an effort to convey something of the soul of a local community, through repetition and variations on an icon." - The New York Times

The Black Photographers Who Changed The World’s Understanding Of Black Life

The Kamoinge Workshop was "a collective of black photographers who formed in 1963 to document black culture in Harlem, and beyond, from live jazz concerts to portraits of Malcolm X, Miles Davis and Grace Jones, as well as the civil rights movement and anti-war protests." - The Guardian (UK)

The Depopulated Paris Of Young Edward Hopper Feels Like A Mirror Of Our Pandemic Times

It's desolate, empty streets; bridges with no tourists; the sidewalks near the Seine silent. What wouldn't we give now for the American diners of Hopper's later career, even if they're dysfunctional - at least there are multiple people in them. - Washington Post

Remember The Art Of Multiples? They’re Back

Art isn't only for the One Percenters, even if that one percent can afford to buy a ton of multiples to go along with their laser-focused unique pieces. Despite how their allure faded after the 1970s, "Multiples have retained just enough of their 'provocative and disorienting message,' as Celant’s essay put it, to make them a good fit for today’s progressive causes." But they can be still more than that. - The New York Times

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