Big Artifact Find in Egypt, Venice Architecture Biennale Details Revealed, and More: Morning Links for June 1, 2022

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The Headlines

THE PAST IS NEVER DEAD. Egyptian officials said that archaeologists have made big finds at Saqqara, a necropolis near Cairo, the Washington Post reports. Among the items they have unearthed, which are believed be some 2,500 years old, are 250 sarcophagi and 150 bronze statues. “In one of the wooden sarcophagi, we found, for the first time, a complete and sealed papyrus,” Mostafa Waziri , Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities chief, said. Meanwhile, a drought in Iraq has revealed the remnants of a city that was hidden by the Mosul reservoir, Newsweek reports. The site is estimated to be 3,400 years old, and 100 clay tablets have been found there so far. Archaeologists are moving quickly since rainfall may result in the city being submerged once more.

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A DISPATCH FROM LA SERENISSIMA. The art Biennale runs in Venice deep into November, but then the architects will have their turn in the Floating City. The 18th edition of the city’s architecture Biennale opens next May, and details have just been released about its central exhibition. It is titled “The Laboratory of the Future,” and will focus on Africa as “the protagonist of the future,” ArchDaily reports. “There is one place on this planet where all these questions of equity, race, hope, and fear converge and coalesce,” the show’s curator, Lesley Lokko, said. “Africa. At an anthropological level, we are all African. And what happens in Africa happens to us all.

The Digest

Two Cuban dissidents—artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and rapper Maykel Castillo—are reportedly standing trial in Havana on charges that critics allege are tied to their political activism. Authorities have not confirmed that proceedings are underway. Art curator Claudia Genlui said that they face ten years in prison. [Associated Press]

Two Egon Schiele works stolen by the Nazis will go to auction at Christie’s in the fall now that a legal battle appears to have reached its conclusion. Heirs to their onetime owner, Fritz Grunbaum, who was killed at Dachau, had successfully sued to obtain the works from dealer Richard Nagy. Nagy had appealed, arguing that the works had not been stolen and that he had purchased them through another Grunbaum heir. [New York Post]

Former employees at museums and other cultural institutions in the country of Georgia say that they were dismissed by officials tied to the national government because of their political views. They have formed an activist group, the Union of Science, Education and Culture Workers of Georgia, in protest. [ArtReview]

A German court is hearing a suit that calls for the removal of an antisemitic statue that has been on display on the facade of the Town Church in Wittenberg, where Martin Luther once preached, for more than 700 years. The plaintiff argues it is “a defamation of and insult to the Jewish people” with “a terrible effect up to this day.” [Associated Press]

The hotly anticipated National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo—which resulted from a merger of four other institutions—will open in a new home designed by the architect Klaus Schuwerk next week. Among its many features: a space for temporary exhibitions that measures 425 feet long. [Architectural Digest]

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and visited the exhibitions “Afro-Atlantic Histories” (which Vice President Kamala Harris praised in April) and “James Van Der Zee’s Photographs: A Portrait of Harlem.” [@NGADC/Twitter]

The Kicker

TAKE THE WHEEL. The artist Christopher Wool gave a rare interview to the New York Times in conjunction with a show he is opening at Xavier Hufkens gallery in Brussels this week, and while he largely talked about his sculptures and photography books, he did touch on the auction market for his paintings, which was red-hot for a stretch a few years back. “It sometimes feels not only like you’re in a car that you’re not driving,” Wool said. “It feels as if you’re tied up in the back of the car and no one is even telling you where you’re going.” [NYT]


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