Submerged Stone Age Wall May Be Europe’s Oldest Known Structure, Toppled Edward Colston Statue Heads to Museum, and More: Morning Links for February 13, 2024

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The headlines

STONE AGE WONDER. Researchers may have found Europe’s oldest known “megastructure” built by humans: a well-preserved, over 10,000-year-old wall submerged off Germany’s Baltic coast. The nearly one-kilometer-long Stone Age wall, named the “Blinkerwall,” sits on the bottom of the Bay of Mecklenburg and was found accidentally by scientists using sonar equipment, reports Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Believed to have served as a hunting tactic for directing game by hunter-gatherers, the wall includes some 1,400 small stones positioned to connect about 300 larger boulders. 

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CANCELED TRIENNIAL. Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is abruptly shuttering after its first two editions in 2018 and 2022. Organizers said the exhibition might be revived in a different form. They cited funding problems among reasons for the decision to cancel the event planned for 2025, so as not to “disappoint artists and audiences with an exhibition that is less than their expectations,” according to a statement quoted by the Cleveland Scene.


Last week MoMA acknowledged it had quietly restituted Marc Chagall’s painting Over Vitebsk to the heirs of the Jewish dealer Francis Matthiesen. In a rare agreement of this kind, the museum was paid $4 million in compensation for restitution. However, that arrangement is now at the heart of a legal battle between Matthiesen’s son, and the company Mondex, which had argued on behalf of the heirs that the painting was a Nazi despoliation, for a now contested fee of $8.5 million. [The New York Times]

The toppled statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol is expected to formally move into a museum. The statue has been out of public view since 2022, two years after protestors pulled it down from its plinth in Bristol. Once the anticipated approval is granted, the statue will be displayed at Bristol’s M Shed for an upcoming exhibition about protest movements. [BBC]

On Feb. 11, pro-Palestinian protestors staged a sit-in at the British Museum over its 10-year deal with BP. The group Energy Embargo for Palestine posted on social media that BP was one of six companies granted gas licenses by Israel on October 30, 2023. [ARTnews]

Soho Theater in London has apologized and is investigating a Feb. 10, incident in which Jewish audience members were reportedly “hounded out” of a Paul Currie comedy show. At least six people left the theatre after they were “yelled at” for not standing in support of the Palestinian flag brought on stage. [The Independent]

A new French film about the Surrealist artist Salvador Dali (1904-1989) is out in France. Daaaaaali! is not meant to be a historically accurate biopic, and the artist is played by several different actors, in a Surrealist twist of its own. [Le Monde]

The Kicker

ART SUPPLIES FOR ALL. Abstract painter Frank Bowling is selling hand-signed prints to fund art supplies in 100 UK elementary schools. Proceeds are expected to supply canvas, paint, and curriculum materials for some 30,000 children, and come amid ongoing government spending cuts in arts education. The British artist hopes to raise about $630,000 with the project, done in collaboration with the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts (Circa). Bowling’s “ambition is for this to be a gamechanger in the way that children are introduced to fine art so they’re introduced to canvas, to the pleasure and the possibilities of paint and the idea that they can make art,” said the artist’s son, Ben Bowling, speaking to The Guardian.

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