Monday, June 25, 2012

Art News, June 25, 2012

By Charles Kessler

The New York Times reports that a new uranium-thorium dating technique determined the paintings in El Castillo, a cave in Spain, to be at least 40,800 years old — 4,000 years older than what was previously thought to be the oldest human art, the paintings in the Chauvet Cave, France. Maybe I have an overactive imagination, but from this photo it looks to me like hands reaching out of a hole in the wall. If so, these cave paintings are a lot more sophisticated and theatrical than banal hand prints — and much more in keeping with what we know about cave paintings.
40,000 year-old hand stencils, El Castillo Cave, Spain.
In the last three years, Chinese archaeologists have unearthed 110 new terracotta warriors, 12 pottery horses, parts of chariots, weapons and tools near the Qin Emperor's mausoleum in China's northern Xi'an city. They may be some 38,000 years younger than the El Castillo cave paintings, but they’re still pretty old (221-206 BC) and are well-preserved and colorful. You can see more photos here.
Chinese archeologists working on terracotta warriors in Xi'an, China, June 9, 2012.
There are at least two websites that I know of devoted to documenting the fast-disappearing neon signs of New York: Thomas Rinaldi’s blog New York Neon takes an historic approach, and Kirsten Hively’s Project Neon! is more slanted to art. Both are beautiful and comprehensive.
Colony Music (animated), Broadway at 49th Street, New York City ( Photo from Project Neon!).
The Gagosian Gallery's exhibition Picasso and Francoise Gilot: Paris-Vallauris 1943 - 1953 has more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, but I was especially excited by the sculpture and ceramics (I'd estimate about 50 of them). They look like the work of four or five great artists instead of work spanning ten years by just one person! The show closes June 30th — DON'T MISS IT!  The Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Avenue at 77th Street. 

Pablo Picasso, Femme portant un enfant, 1953, wood and part of a palm leaf, 68 x 21 x 14 inches, private collection. (Photo by Patrick Goetelen, © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

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