Documenta Names New Director, Banksy Piece Partially Removed, and More: Morning Links for January 13, 2023

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The Headlines

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THE TOP JOB. The Documenta organization, which runs that quinquennial exhibition in Kassel, Germany, announced that it has hired a new managing director: Andreas Hoffmann, an antiquities expert and longtime arts administrator who has been managing director of the Bucerius Kunst Forum exhibition center in Hamburg since 2007. He is set to start on May 1, taking the place of Ferdinand von Saint André, who was tapped late last year to be its interim managing director after a series of controversies at the 2022 edition (number 15) that involved charges of antisemitism and censorship. Managing director Sabine Schormann, who came aboard in 2018, parted with Documenta in July. The next Documenta is on the calendar for 2027, and is scheduled to run from June 12 through September 19. Its artistic director has not yet been named.

ANCIENT DISCOVERIES. A 1,300-year-old stone Buddha that was found, toppled over, in 2007 in a remote part of Gyeongju, South Korea, will be lifted upright by 2025, the Korea Herald reports. The sculpture weighs about 88 tons and is believed to have fallen in a 1430 earthquake. It now rests on a 45-degree slope, mere inches from a rock that could have smashed it. The Cultural Heritage Administration and Gyeongju will be in charge of the project. The Buddha “spent a thousand years lying face down, to bear the sufferings of the people,” Ven. Jinwoo, the president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, said at a press conference about the plan. Meanwhile, ARTnews has a look at the 10 most important archaeological finds, as well as the intriguing news that the temple of Poseidon may have been discovered in Greece.

The Digest

In Lowestoft, England, a property owner apparently removed part of a Banksy artwork because it was attracting waste dumping. The issue was a Dumpster filled with blocks of insulation painted to resemble French fries. In a neighboring mural, a humungous seagull dives down to eat them. The bird will now go hungry. [BBC News]

Forensic artists—who create drawings of suspects in crimes, based on witness and victim testimony—are using digital tools to streamline their processes. [CBC News]

On Thursday, Brazilian officials released a report with more details about the damage caused by rioters who invaded government buildings in Brasilia. Two examples: Rocks were thrown through a painting by Emiliano Di Calvalcanti, and a 17th-century Balthazar Martinot clock was destroyed. There is not yet an exact estimate of the cost of the havoc. [The Associated Press]

Stone Mountain, the gargantuan Confederate monument that was initiated in the 1910s and carved into stone about 15 miles east of Atlanta’s downtown, is the subject of “a compelling short documentary” from the Atlanta History Center, columnist Carolina A. Miranda writes. [Los Angeles Times]

The Financial Times invited its readers to submit their A.I.-generated art, and is presenting “a selection of the best submissions.” (Best being, of course, a subjective term.) Whatever you think of the results, some of the written prompts intrigue. Here is one: “2 parrots: 1 steampunk parrot, and 1 cyberpunk parrot, looking at each others’ reflections through a mirror that is spilling cosmic dust in both dimensions.” [FT]

The Kicker

THE STREET TEAM. Photographer Aïda Muluneh currently has a show up at the Efie Gallery in Dubai, and she got the profile treatment in the Financial Times. It turns out that her unforgettable images of women painted in potent tones are a hit in Ethiopia, where she was born, with storeowners in Addis Ababa printing her pictures from the web and displaying them in their windows. “I think it’s hilarious—they could have chosen a photo of Beyoncé, but they chose to take my strange work because they saw something in it,” Muluneh told the paper. “I usually call them up and tell them not to do it again—but that’s when you know you’ve reached people.” [FT]


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