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ARCHAEOLOGY BLOTTER: VICE EDITION. Archaeologists in Israel said that they have found a winemaking complex in the town of Yavne that is around 500 years old and that could churn out some 500,000 gallons a year in its heyday, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, scientists working in Utah have found evidence that humans there were enjoying tobacco more than 12,000 years ago, Reuters reports. It is the earliest record of human tobacco use ever uncovered. A very cool quote from one archaeologist: “On a global scale, tobacco is the king of intoxicant plants, and now we can directly trace its cultural roots to the Ice Age.” On a healthier note, researchers say in a newly published study that tools like prehistoric hooks and sinkers found in the Jordan River Dureijat site in Israel suggest that, 13,000 years ago, humans in the area had already adopted the advanced fishing techniques that are used today. (Courthouse News has summarized the findings.) Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.
LONDON CALLING. Yesterday, Frieze Week kicked off in the British capital with the opening of Anicka Yi’s hotly anticipated show in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. It consists of floating, amoeba-like creatures—“biologized machines,“ Yi terms them. “I want to foreground the idea that air is a sculpture that we inhabit,” the artist told the New York Times. In ARTnews, Alex Greenberger offers a primer to the artist’s diffuse practice through five key works, including a perfume “portrait” she made. (The Turbine display has a scent component, too.) Artificial intelligence is guiding how the strange forms move through the air, the Art Newspaper reports, quoting a vaguely menacing statement from the museum that says that “the aerobes communicate with each other in ways we cannot understand.” Critic Adrian Searle judges it all “a tad too subtle” in the Guardian, but he is intrigued by how the computer beings may change their behavior over time. He asks, “Will they grow restive, or learn how to breed?”
Sponsored Content from the Huntington
Kehinde Wiley: A Portrait of a Young Gentleman
Oct. 2, 2021–Jan. 3, 2022
A newly commissioned painting by Kehinde Wiley debuts at The Huntington, inspired by Thomas Gainsborough’s 1770 masterpiece The Blue Boy. Wiley provides his own take on nobility, class, and power.
For information and tickets: huntington.org.
Ghanaian artist, art historian, and curator Atta Kwami, who was known for alluring and charismatic geometric works, died last week. He was 65. Kwami won the Maria Lassnig Prize earlier this year and was at work on an accompanying commission from the Serpentine Galleries in London. [Artforum]
British architect Owen Luder, who crafted inventive Brutalist buildings, and who served as president of the Royal Institute of British Architects on two separate occasions, died on Friday. He was 93. A critic once dubbed him the nation’s “unluckiest architect” since so many of his creations were demolished. [Dezeen]
The Kunsthaus Zurich’s decision to showcase the storied art holdings of arms manufacturer Emil Georg Bührle (1890–1956) in a just-opened extension has sparked controversy. “It’s a collection built with money from arms sales, from slave labor, from child labor,” said one critic. [The New York Times]
A multigenerational group of artists came together at the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus in Los Angeles to restore a faded mural that artist Alonzo Davis painted in honor of the artist, educator, and activist John Outterbridge. Artist Michael Massenburg led the work. [Los Angeles Times]
Meg Onli, a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, has been tapped to be director and curator at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, which she will co-lead with Cristina Pacheco, who was made co-interim director and chief operations officer last year. [The New York Times]
Two members of the redoubtable band Le Tigre—Kathleen Hanna and art critic Johanna Fateman—are asking a court to shield them from copyright claims they term frivolous, which were brought by Barry Mann over their 1999 song “Deception.” They argue that they made transformative use of two lines in Mann’s 1961 novelty song “Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp).” [Courthouse News]
DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS SITTING IN YOUR ATTIC? A drawing by Tiepolo was recently discovered in the attic of a manor house near Towcester, England, that was being readied for sale, BBC News reports. The auction house Dreweatts has pegged it with a £150,000 (about $204,000) low estimate. The family selling the house apparently knew that a relative had purchased a Tiepolo around 85 years ago, but no one was aware of its whereabouts. “It was thrilling to think that such a captivating and important work of art by such a revered Old Master was just lying there gathering dust over the years,” one family member said. [BBC News]