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THE EGYPTIAN PHARAOH SEQENENRE TAO II was killed in an execution ceremony, according to a new study that used CT scans to examine his roughly 3,600-year-old body. X-rays completed in the 1960s revealed head wounds, leading some to conclude that he was assassinated, Agence France-Presse, but the fresh examination revealed additional injuries that provide a fuller picture of his final moments. The report , published in the Frontiers of Medicine, says that the leader’s hands were bound behind his back, meaning that he was perhaps killed after being captured in battle. “This is good news for me (though obviously not for Seqenenre),” Garry Shaw writes in an essay on the discoveries in Apollo. “As the Egyptologist who first developed the ceremonial execution theory, I was relieved that these discoveries haven’t consigned my work to the academic dustbin.” Shaw sees the research as a prime example of how high-tech science can illuminate ancient history.
AS TEXAS AIMS TO RECOVER FROM A WINTER STORM THAT knocked out power for millions, museums in the state are also working to keep their staff and collections safe, Brian Boucher writes in Artnet News. “Our emergency preparedness team is well acquainted with disaster,” said Gary Tinterow, the director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, which suffered damage during a 2017 hurricane. The MFA has utilized generators to keep energy flowing, and more than a dozen engineers were sleeping on site, since road conditions have been hazardous.
London galleries have been closed all of 2021, but some dealers are feeling optimistic. “Our international clients have kept telling us how much they miss London, and how much they’re looking forward to returning here,” David Zwirner director James Green said. Also: Zwirner’s online Studio initiative has brought in a reported $20 million in sales since last May. [The Telegraph]
Graphic designer Bruce Blackburn, who created the famed NASA logo known as the “worm,” has died at the age of 82. [The New York Times]
The Longwood Gardens botanical garden, which spans 1,000 acres in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, will spend a hulking $250 million to remake its grounds and buildings. Construction begins next month, and will continue through 2024. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Tadao Ando has created a number of art buildings for collector François Pinault over the years, most recently the new Bourse de Commerce in Paris. What makes the partnership work? “We are both self-taught and share a common sensitivity to the impermanence and fragility of life,” Pinault said. [Architectural Digest]
The Helix, Amazon’s forthcoming building in Arlington, Virginia, represents, for architecture critic Philip Kennicott, “a glitzy welcome to the Trans-Potomac, the anti-Washington, the magical possibilities of untrammeled capitalism one might enjoy if only regulation and oversight were permanently in the rearview mirror.” [The Washington Post]
Dolly Parton has asked Tennessee lawmakers not to consider a bill to create a statue of her on the grounds of the state’s Capitol. The “Light on a Clear Blue Morning” singer said in a statement, “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.” [Associated Press]
The Chilean-born, New York–based artist Cecilia Vicuña will soon have her work on view in three Asian cities. [South China Morning Post]
Photographer Barbara Klemm has won the International Folkwang Prize from the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany, which comes with a prize of €10,000 (about $12,100). [Monopol]
Judy Chicago will create a smoke sculpture for the latest Desert X exhibition in the Coachella Valley of California with Chris Souza of Pyro Spectaculars. “I and my pyro-collaborator, we like the old-fashioned method of lighting fireworks by hand with black match, so you hear this [screeching] noise,” she said. “But we’re not doing that because that noise would be disruptive to the wildlife.” [Los Angeles Times]
THE MARKET FOR LIMITED-EDITION SPORTS TRADING CARDS is soaring, David Waldstein reports in a story for the New York Times about the collectors betting big on the field. Investment manager Aaron Davis, for instance, bought an ultra-rare LeBron James rookie card for $312,000 at auction in 2016, and the founder of the house that sold it now pegs its value at more than $5 million. “This is the art of the future for sports enthusiasts who have money and don’t want to buy art,” Davis told the Times . “Pretty much everything I collect now is because I think it is a good investment and because I like the player.” [The New York Times]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you on Monday.