Storied Archaeologist Shi Xingbang Dies at 99, Climate Protestors Hit Madame Tussauds, and More: Morning Links for October 25, 2022

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The Headlines

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FOLLOWING THE PASSING last week of art critic Peter Schjeldahl—“whose exuberant prose and perceptive mind made him one of the most widely read art critics in the U.S.,” as Alex Greenberger wrote in ARTnews—friends and colleagues have been filing remembrances. In the latest issue of the New Yorker, where Schjeldahl wrote for almost a quarter-century, editor-in-chief David Remnick says that “he was openhearted, he knew how to praise critically, and, to the end, he was receptive to new things, new artists.” In the Los Angeles Times, fellow critic Christopher Knight, who counted Schjeldahl as a friend for some 25 years, argues that his articles “radiated his unwavering belief—one I happen to share—that pleasure is the driving impulse behind the best art, even when its subject matter might be grim, as well as a key to any critical response to it.”

SHI XINGBANG, a leading Chinese archaeologist behind pivotal discoveries, has died at 99, the South China Morning Post reports. Shi’s career was paused by the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), but he still logged astonishing accomplishments over four decades, like helping to organize the excavation of the Terracotta Army and uncovering the first neolithic village found in the country, in 1953. Named Banpo, it is believed to date back some six millennia and belong to the Yangshao culture, an early agricultural society.

The Digest

On Monday, just a day after climate protestors in Germany threw mashed potatoes on a Monet, activists in Just Stop Oil T-shirts slammed pies into the face of King Charles‘s wax sculpture at Madame Tussauds in London. Four people were arrested. [BBC News]

An octet of Royal Institute of British Architects questioned the renovation planned by Selldorf Architects for the Sainsbury Wing at London’s National Gallery. Filing public comments, they argued that the proposal is “insensitive and inappropriately changes a finely conceived space into an airport lounge.” [Dezeen]

The Yale University Art Gallery’s decision not to display an offering from a Navajo Diné elder named Jonah Yellowman as part of a solo show by artist Fazal Sheikh has led to a debate over alleged censorship and how arts institutions interact with Indigenous communities and display their culture. [Yale Daily News]

Spencer Tunick—the artist famed for assembling and photographing large numbers of naked people—is seeking 2,500 people to, yes, get naked at a Sydney beach next month for his latest endeavor, which has been commissioned by Skin Check Champions, a charity that fights skin cancer. [The Guardian]

Joanna Nordin, who has led the Carl Eldh Studio Museum in Stockholm since 2020, has been tapped to become artistic director of the closely watched Bonniers Konsthall in Sweden. She starts in April. [ArtDaily]

ARTISTS! David Shrigley is in the GuardianJeffrey Gibson is in the Financial TimesKhushna Sulaman-Butt is in Cultured , and last but not least, Bob Dylan is in—or at least written about by—the New Yorker, in a piece by David Remnick.

The Kicker

TEENAGE RIOT. When did Jordan Wolfson know that he wanted to be an artist? “It just sort of hit me like a lightning bolt that I would be an artist,” he offered in a formidably wide-ranging interview in Interview magazine with fellow artist Anne Imhof. “It happened in a flash when I was 16 years old. Before that, I didn’t have much confidence. I was kind of a frustrated person. I thought I could be a professional skateboarder or something, or a comedian or a graphic designer. I didn’t know. And then one night it just hit me like a lightning bolt.” The rest, of course, is history. [Interview]


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