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EARLIEST NARRATIVE PAINTING. New evidence backs findings that the earliest known cave paintings were not made in Europe, and reveals they were older than first thought. Thanks to new dating technology, researchers have determined that a newly discovered artwork in the Indonesian Leang Karampuang cave on the island of Sulawesi is now the world’s oldest-known cave art, reports Reuters. The dark red depiction of a large pig and three small, human-like figures was created a minimum of 51,200 years ago, according to researchers using new laser dating technology, which analyzes calcium carbonate crystals on top of the painting. This makes the image the oldest evidence of narrative storytelling in art. “There is something happening between these figures. A story is being told,” said Griffith University archeologist Adam Brumm, one of the study leaders who published their findings in the journal Nature. Another cave painting in Sulawesi was re-dated using the new technology to be at least 48,000 years old, all of which predate the earliest, undisputed European cave paintings. “This discovery of very old cave art in Indonesia drives home the point that Europe was not the birthplace of cave art, as had long been assumed,” said Brumm.

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VIRGIN MARY VANDALISM. A new, wooden statue depicting Mary giving birth to Jesus, conceived by Esther Strauss and carved by Theresa Limberger, was beheaded with a saw on July 1, in Linz’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, not long after it was installed. Police have begun an investigation and are looking into an apparent letter of confession posted on the platform Telegram, signed “Catholic Resistance,” reports the dpa and the German Press Agency. The controversial statue was intended to encourage discussion, as part of a project about female roles and gender equality, according to the National Catholic Reporter. The vandalized art piece showing a Mary in labor, her full belly and spread legs exposed, will remain on display until mid-July, though it will now be kept in the dark and placed behind a glass door. “You shouldn’t see the image of the destroyed sculpture,” a spokesperson told dpa, adding no photos were published of the beheaded statue. “This violence is an expression of the fact that there are still people who question women’s rights to their own bodies. We must take a firm stand against this, said the Vienna-based Strauss in a statement.


Miami’s so-called “condo-king,” billionaire Jorge Perez, who has spent hundreds of millions bolstering Miami’s art scene, has blasted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for axing all $32 million of a state funding program for the arts. Perez said defunding the arts pulls the rug out of efforts to make Miami an arts magnet, which has been pulling affluent powerhouses from places like New York and Chicago. “This is just a horrible message to send,” Perez said. “We were a society of fun and sun, but we’re no longer that — we don’t want that.” [Bloomberg]

Charges were dropped against dozens of pro-Palestinian protestors arrested for criminal trespassing at the Art Institute of Chicago in May. Illinois’ state attorney’s office said the peaceful nature of the demonstration led to dropping the charges, but some local leaders are concerned about the ruling. The decision sends the message that protesters can “do whatever they want, without regard to the damage that they cause,” said 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins. [ABC7]

Many collectors were “jittery” about a Labour party win in the UK’s general election yesterday, which they expect will come at a price, via a possible hike in Capital Gains Tax. Meanwhile, the super-wealthy have been fleeing the country due to changes in the non-domicile tax rule, which had permitted no taxation on overseas income. [The Art Newspaper]

The Bangkok Art Biennale has announced the 45 artists from 28 countries, who will participate in its fourth edition, themed “Nurture Gaia,” to be held Oct. 24, 2024 – Feb. 25, 2025. Artists include Adel Abdessemed, Priyageetha Dia, duo Elmgreen & Dragset, Chitra Ganesh, and Dusadee Huntrakul, to name a few. [ArtAsiaPacific]

Art historian Joan Kee will become the next director of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, beginning August 19. [Artforum]

The taste making gallery 47 Canal is opening a new SoHo location today, but its co-founder, artist Margaret Lee will attend as a visitor, having retired from the gallery operations. She discusses the gallery’s adventurous beginnings with co-founder Oliver Newton, who remembers being asked, “who’s going to sell the art?” [Artnet News]

Yasmil Raymond, who is leaving her positions as rector and director of the Städelschule Academy of Fine Art and Portikus exhibition space in Frankfurt, looks back at her achievements in an interview, and said that as a newly selected member of the Documenta selection committee, she wants to help rebuild trust in the exhibition. “Documenta has taught me how art works, how to think with art,” she said. [Monopol Magazine]


PUSSY RIOT TALKS. Nadya Tolokonnikova, co-founder of the Russian punk feminist collective Pussy Riot, is getting her first solo museum exhibition titled, “RAGE,” on view at OK Center for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria. For the occasion, the exiled artist who was imprisoned for “hooliganism” by Moscow, met with Artnet News’ Jo Lawson-Tancred. “It’s very unusual for a museum to not try to censor the political content of art but actually encourage it,” Tolokonnikova observed of her experience at the center. The exhibit surveys the artist’s career and includes new pieces made in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, among others. Under constant threat of persecution, Pussy Riot members train like a “military bootcamp” for their daring performances, as though “a superhero-type force,” explained the artist born in 1989. And as for setting up her first solo institutional exhibit, “it wasn’t extremely difficult … when you don’t have police trying to drag you away,” said Tolokonnikova, later adding: “I don’t want to give up on hope. My role in life is very simple. My goal is to always think about the future.”