Keith Haring Fridge Door to Auction, Enigmatic English Hill Figure Dated, and More: Morning Links from May 12, 2021

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The Headlines

THE ORIGINS OF A ROUGHLY 180-FOOT-TALL DRAWING OF A MAN on a hill near Dorset, England, are finally coming into focus. While scholars have theorized that the Cerne Abbas Giant could date to prehistoric times, or the ancient Roman era, or the 1600s, “everyone was wrong,” geoarchaeologist Mike Allen told New Scientist . Allen was part of a team that used a technique called optically stimulated luminescence to analyze the chalk that outlines the cudgel-wielding nude figure. They determined that it was likely constructed between the years 700 and 1300. One theory is that the giant, godlike figure was created around 990 as a riposte to the arrival of an abbey that planned to convert local pagans. “We have nudged our understanding a little closer to the truth but he still retains many of his secrets,” archaeologist Martin Papworth told the Art Newspaper. “He still does have an air of mystery, so I think everyone’s happy.”

A 32-ACRE PARK IN HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND, THAT WAS NAMED FOR A MAN who donated the land with the condition that it only be accessible to white people will be rechristened as the David C. Driskell Community Park, after the towering African-American artist and historianCulture Type reports. Driskell  died last year of complications from Covid-19 at the age of 88. After teaching at Fisk University in Nashville, he moved to Hyattsville, a D.C. suburb, in 1976, with his family, to be a professor at the University of Maryland. “Just as human beings are a part of nature,” his daughter Daphne Driskell-Coles said, “I can envision a change of creative impact coming to the park that will not only have my father’s name but it will have his love, appreciation, and respect of nature depicted throughout.”

The Digest

The Egyptian archaeological discoveries just keep coming! Archaeologists there said they have found about around 250 tombs in the country’s Sohag province that date back more than 4,000 years. [AFP/Barron’s]

The Chinese-born, Singapore-based artist and teacher Lim Yew Kuan, who won attention for his lush landscapes and perceptive portraits, has died at the age of 91. [The Strait Times]

The Ayer Mansion, a townhouse in Boston’s Back Bay that was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, has been listed for sale, worrying some who believe that it could become inaccessible to scholars under new ownership. (It is currently used by a nonprofit associated with the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei.) [The New York Times]

“Shattered Glass,” an exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in Los Angeles in which all of its 40 artists are people of color, has been drawing big crowds. Robin Pogrebin took a look at the show, which was curated by Melahn Frierson, Deitch’s L.A. director, and the arts educator AJ Girard. [The New York Times]

Glorious news for James Turrell fans: the master of light and space will unveil one of his Skyspaces in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, in July. It’s been funded by the Green Mountain Falls Foundation, which runs an annual arts festival in the town. [The Art Newspaper]

Claire Selvin checked in with the Museum of Chinese in America has moved forward after a fire in early 2020, and amid the coronavirus pandemic. [ARTnews]

The Kicker

A “SPACIOUS RAILROAD APARTMENT” ADVERTISED in the Village Voice in 1990 came with a special bonus, James Barron reports in the New York Timesa refrigerator with a door that had been signed by friends of artist Keith Haring, who once lived in the SoHo abode. Long story, but a woman who responded to the ad and rented the place ended up with that door, which has autographs from MadonnaAndy Warhol, and Fab Five Freddy, and she is selling it at auction at Guernsey’s.  Its estimated to go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s not beautiful, but it’s of that moment, of that time,” auctioneer Arlan Ettinger told the Times. “It reflects a certain spirit, a creativeness, that is alive today if you think about the people who were there.” [The New York Times]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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