Links for August 4, 2017

The World’s Oldest Art Studio Discovered in an Ethiopian Cave

They found that ancient visitors to the site processed the iron-rich ochre stones there by flaking and grinding the raw materials “to produce a fine-grained and bright red powder.” The ochre stones can be used to produce powders of varying coarsenesses, in shades of yellow, orange, red, brown, and gray.... According to the paper, the local community relied on Porc-Epic for its ochre needs for millennia, the cave essentially serving as a studio for artists.

The Quest for an Archaeology of Sea Otter Tool Use

“Not many animals on the planet use stones to crack food open,” explains Dora Biro, a zoologist at the University of Oxford in England who studies the emergence of culture among wild chimpanzees… “Tool use is itself, very rare. Animals like [sea otters], who use percussive stone-tool technology, who pick up a rock and develop the skill to strike things with it, that is even rarer.”


Text 572-51 with the words “send me” followed by a keyword, a color, or even an emoji and you’ll receive a related artwork image and caption via text message. For example “send me the ocean” might get you Pirkle Jones’ Breaking Wave, Golden Gate; “send me something blue” could result in Éponge (SE180) by Yves Klein; and “send me 💐” might return Yasumasa Morimura’s An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns). Each text message triggers a query to the SFMOMA collection API, which then responds with an artwork matching your request.