Rare North Korean art lands in Switzerland – and more art news – ARTnews.com



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RESEARCHERS HAVE DISCOVERED THE OLDEST known human burial in Africa, National Geographic reports. Discovered in Kenya, the approximately 80,000 year old site is the resting place of a 2 or 3 year old child. Archaeologists believe the child was buried in a shroud, with a pillow under his head. Older human burials have been found elsewhere, including some dating back over 90,000 years in Israel. “The first African burials are particularly rare despite the fact that Africa is the cradle of our species”, Nicole Bovin, the chief investigator of the project, told the Guardian. “This almost certainly reflects the prejudices in the areas where the research has been done – the regions where earlier burials have been found have been the subject of much more extensive research than Africa.”

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SWISS ART COLLECTOR AND RETIRED DIPLOMAT ULI SIGG presents its collection of North Korean and South Korean art at Kunstmuseum Bern in neutral Switzerland. Sigg began acquiring North Korean coins, which rarely appear beyond its borders, while serving as Swiss Ambassador to the country. The setting up of the exhibition was a thorny process, the New York Times reports. North Koreans have complained about a (rather disturbing) watercolor of the country’s current ruler, Kim jong un , examining two great white sharks, Sigg said, and southern lawmakers accused a foundation of funding the northern propaganda promotion project. In any case, it has met and continues until September. It’s a great year for Sigg, who has donated an abundance of contemporary Chinese art to the M + museum in Hong Kong, which will open later this year.

The Digest

This week, ARTnews publishes interviews that Boston Museum of Fine Arts curator Liz Munsell and writer and musician Greg Tate conducted with associates of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The talks were held in conjunction with a show they hosted at MFA Boston, “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation,” which is on view until July 25. First part of the series: Fab 5 Freddy and Lee Quiñones in a two-part discussion. [ARTnews: Part 1  and Part 2]

The Istanbul Biennale, which was due to open its last edition in September, has announced that it will delay its opening for a year. A statement from its organizers cited “the severity of the current health crisis in many parts of the world and the uncertainty of the months to come”. [ArtReview]

“While the Oval Office may not often be seen as a high-profile rotating exhibition space, in a narrow sense it is exactly what it is,” write reporters Larry Buchanan and Matt Stevens in a careful reading of the art that President Biden exhibits in his workplace. [The New York Times]

Photographer Deana Lawson was profiled by Jenna Wortham in a story with portraits of the artist by Lyle Ashton Harris. [The New York Times Magazine]

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles has launched what it calls the Hammer Channel, a collection of its archived lectures, performances and other events dating back over 15 years. It is available on its website and on YouTube. [Los Angeles Times]

The Kicker

WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT DAMIEN HIRST, you must admire its ethical value. The artist just sold $ 22.4 million in prints in a six-day sale he’s working on an NFT project called Currency, and he will be exhibiting 30 of his huge new cherry blossom paintings this summer at Cartier Foundation in Paris. (This is his first museum exhibition in France, oddly enough.) Financial Times sat down with Hirst, and he had this to say about his new effervescent works: ” I really wanted to create an enveloping visual experience that grabs you whether you like it or not. I wanted to bypass all your judgmental faculties and simply join you, internally. [Financial Times]

Thanks for the reading. Well see you tomorrow.


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