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Stonehenge’s Secret Strength Revealed, Titian Feast Arrives in Boston, and More: Morning Links for August 13, 2021

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The Headlines

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES ARE COMING FAST IN ENGLAND. A new section of Hadrian’s Wall has been discovered during work on a water main in Newcastle, England, CNN reports. Northumbrian Water has tapped Archaeological Research Services to keep the find intact. Meanwhile, a new paper reveals that Stonehenge has survived so long because its sandstone boulders contain interlocking quartz crystals, making it rocks “nearly indestructible,” Insider reports. The findings were made by studying a 3-foot piece of the ancient structure that was stolen by a Florida man after he did repair work on the structure in the 1950s. His family recently repatriated it. (Current law prohibits researchers from grabbing fresh hunks of the stone.) Despite its apparent durability, the long-surviving wonder is not without adversaries: “potentially rabbits might burrow under the stones and undermine them from below, making them fall over onto their sides,” David Nash , a co-author of the report, told the publication.

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Glasgow School of Art Student Masaki

TODAY IS THE IDES OF AUGUST, the heart of the art world’s summer holiday, but one of the year’s biggest shows in the United States is opening today at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. “Titian: Women, Myth & Power” unites all six of the prized paintings that the artist painted for King Philip II based on the stories of the Roman poet Ovid. They are scattered throughout various museums (the Gardner owns The Rape of Europa, 1560–62), and in the New York Times , critic Holland Cotter writes that these are pieces “you will never have seen together before and will almost certainly never see together again.” WBUR has a look at how the show came together, and the museum’s registrar, Amanda Venezia, put it like this: “It’s like bringing a bunch of kings and queens back from their journey, the logistics involved.”

The Digest

Everyone seems to be thinking about Tiziano Vecelli! Smithsonian Magazine checked in with the great Photorealist painter Audrey Flack, who’s donating her papers to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and she said, “Titian made art into his late 80s and I’m now past that. I always wanted to paint like an old master, or rather an old mistress.” [Smithsonian Magazine]

The frequently controversial sculptor Igael Tumarkin, who represented Israel at the biennials of Venice, São Paolo, and Tokyo during the 1960s, has died at 87. [Haaretz]

For its “Overlooked” series, the New York Times ran an obituary for the African-American model Hettie Anderson (1873–1938), who posed for artists like Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Anders Zorn, and Daniel Chester French, but who “was mostly forgotten by the world at large” by her death. [The New York Times]

There’s a mural boom in Western New York, fueled by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York’s Bortolami Gallery, and many more, Mark Byrnes reports. “The only place I’ve been that has more murals is São Paulo,” said artist Cecily Brown, who’s made one in Buffalo. [Bloomberg CityLab]

In a pivotal scene in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019), some of the main characters hide under a table made by the Korean artist and designer Bahk Jong-sun. That instantly iconic piece will go on view at Milan Design Week 2021 early next month. [The Korea Times]

David Hill has a deep dive on the new $150 million restoration of Gio Ponti’s Denver Art Museum tower—the only building that the Italian architect ever built in the United States. It’s a reliably controversial structure that art critic Grace Glueck once termed “an Italian castle wrapped in aluminum foil.” [Architect Magazine]

Artist Hubert Bush is listing the Manhattan home where he lived with his late husband, the television pioneer and art collector Douglas S. Cramer. The price: $4.85 million. [New York Post]

The Kicker

‘ART IS FOOD! YOU CAN’T EAT IT BUT IT FEEDS YOU.’ So begins a magnificent manifesto by Elka Schumann, who ran the vaunted Bread & Puppet Theater with her husband, Peter, in Vermont. She has died at 85, the New York Times reports. For nearly 60 years, their theater has offered up left-wing vanguard puppeteering and sourdough bread, all with inimitable wit. Schumann’s manifesto, “Why Cheap Art,” is worth reading in full. It goes on: “Art has to be cheap and available to everybody. It needs to be everywhere because it is the inside of the world.” [The New York Times]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you on Monday.

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