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The excavation site in Italy.

Roman Coin Stash Discovered Underwater, Ancient Footprints Found in New Mexico, and More: Morning Links for September 24, 2021

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The Headlines

A STELLAR DAY FOR ARCHAEOLOGY: A trove of roughly 1,600-year-old Roman gold coins has been discovered in the waters off Xàbia, on Spain’s eastern coast, CNN reports. Totaling about 50 coins, it is being described as one of the largest finds of the kind ever made in Europe. The windfall came after two eagle-eyed amateur divers spotted eight coins in the area. Across the Atlantic, researchers believe they have come identified fossil footprints in White Sands National Park in New Mexico dating back 21,000 and 23,000 years. Assuming that range is correct, Nature magazine writes, “the prints represent the earliest unequivocal evidence of human occupation anywhere in the Americas.” And at the Saratoga National Historical Park in New York, military veterans, including some with PTSD, have been doing archaeological work related to a Revolutionary War battle there, the Associated Press reports. Said one, “We can all come together, share your battle stories, your deployment stories, and share your love for the history of what you’re digging.”

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The excavation site in Italy.

ONE MASSIVE MUSEUM JOB HAS BEEN FILLED. ARTnews reports that MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, has hired as its leader Kristy Edmunds, who is currently executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles. Major American museums still on the hunt for new directors include SFMOMA and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Elsewhere on the museum front, the Art Newspaper has a look at the goings-on at Manhattan’s  Hispanic Society Museum and Library, whose main galleries have been closed since 2017 for much-needed renovations. (Its East Building is hosting shows, for now.) Former Met director Philippe de Montebello, who leads its board, told Judith H. Dobrzynski that more fundraising will be required to reopen the entire building.

The Digest

Here are nine huge sales from Art Basel—which is running right now, instead of its usual June slot—from a Keith Haring that went for about $5 million to a giant $4.5 million Robert Rauschenberg that was snapped up by a European museum. [ARTnews]

The life story of the Indian design legend Gira Sarabhai, who died this summer at 97, is told in an obituary by Shalini Venugopal Bhagat. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Sarabhai worked on Wright’s plans for the Guggenheim Museum and created key design institutions in India, though she declined to document her own work. [The New York Times]

A hat that once sat atop the head of Napoleon Bonaparte sold for €1.22 million (about $1.43 million) at Sotheby’s in Paris, well above its €700,000 top estimate. A special bonus: The bicorne reportedly carried a bit of his DNA, which is potentially great news for anyone hoping to clone the emperor. [Artnet News]

Speaking of the French, the Paris apartment of Frédérique Picard, who is the director of the Carel shoe company, is packed with art. “When I got my first salary at 21, I didn’t buy a pair of shoes,” she said. “I went to an auction and bought my first sculpture, which was 80 percent of my salary.” (It was an Arman.) [Clever/Architectural Digest]

A new $100,000 commission for a moving-image work will be given to an artist via a partnership between the Barcelona-based Han Nefkens Foundation and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, M+ in Hong Kong, and the Singapore Art Museum. The winner must be 35 or older and not have had a major international museum show. All three places will screen the resulting work. [Ocula]

In one of the more imaginative editorial decisions in recent memory, the Financial Times paired pseudonymous novelist Elena Ferrante and performance artist Marina Abramović for an email conversation. [Financial Times]

The Kicker

‘LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS!’ That is the answer artist Elizabeth Neel gave when asked by Apollo about the most interesting person to visit to her studio. However, Neel, who works in Brooklyn and Stowe, Vermont, is willing to divulge that she listens to baseball while making her wily, luminous paintings and that she has “old piano keys and a coyote skin” on hand. Does she cook in her workspace? “I don’t think you could call it cooking exactly . . .,” she said, explaining, “I heat things up on a tiny hot plate.” Maybe try Anthony Bourdain‘s recipe for army stew, which can be whipped up in 20 minutes on that trusty device?  [Apollo]

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