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Art News Roundup: The World's Oldest Artwork, Benjamin Millepied In Paris, Slamdance, Rem Koolhaas And More

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Ever wonder what art was like in the Ice Age? A new exhibit at London's British Museum features a collection of the world's oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, created by some of the earliest professional craftsmen nearly 40,000 years ago. Titled "Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind," the array of artifacts presents the first figurative art produced in Europe during this evolutionary time.

Amongst the Ice Age-era items is a 32,000-year-old carving of a lion-headed man, a 14,000-year-old "hyper-real" landscape, and a 26,000-year-old portrait of a woman's head crafted onto a thumb-sized piece of Ivory.

"Most people looking at art are looking at the five minutes to midnight -– the art of the last 500 years," British Museum curator Jill Cook explained to The Guardian. "We have been used to separating work like this off by that horrible word 'prehistory'. It's a word that tends to bring the shutters down, but this is the deep history of us."

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Architect Rem Koolhaas Announces Title Of Venice Architecture Biennale 2014: Rem Koolhaas, the director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, revealed that the title of next year's show will be Fundamentals. "We want to take a fresh look at the fundamental elements of architecture - used by any architect, anywhere, anytime," Koolhaas stated, "to see if we can discover something new about architecture." (Dezeen)

rem koolhaas venice

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas (R) poses for journalists in the Mies Van der Rohe pavilion in Barcelona, 11 April 2005. The building of the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon was awarded the 2005 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture-Mies van der Rohe Award. (LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

Slamdance Film Festival Announced Top Prizes: Matt Johnson's "The Dirties" and Nicole Teeny's "Bible Quiz" won the two top jury prizes at the Slamdance Film Festival, which announced its winners yesterday in Park City, Utah. Slamdance, started by a group of independent filmmakers dissatisfied with the more mainstream Sundance Film Festival, fosters the development of subversive projects under the motto "Anarchy in Utah." (Indiewire)

Benjamin Millepied Named Director Of The Paris Opera Ballet: Natalie Portman's husband and "Black Swan" choreographer Benjamin Millepied has been named the new director of the Paris Opera Ballet. A former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Millepied will take over the position in October of 2014. "This is an unexpected honor, a long-held dream,” he exclaimed to reporters at a press conference this week. “I am passionate about ballet. I want to see that technique being used and evolving.” (The New York Times)

benjamin millepied paris opera ballet

French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, best known for a role alongside his future wife Natalie Portman in the film 'Black Swan', poses on January 24, 2013 at the Garnier Opera in Paris. Millepied was appointed today dance director at the Paris Opera. The 35-year-old, who began his career at the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to become a principal dancer in 2002, will replace Brigitte Lefevre at the prestigious Paris establishment in October 2014, the opera said. (LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

Hundreds Of Lost William Blake Engravings Discovered In The UK: Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered 350 engraved plates designed by poet and artist William Blake. The find comes after the research team, led by art historian Colin Todd, spent two years of searching through over one million of the institute's books, records and artworks. The engravings will be on display next month at the university's library. (The Independent)

Theatre-Atelier Piotr Fomenko Begins First American Tour Since Founder's Death: The Moscow theater company, Theatre-Atelier Piotr Fomenko, began its new American tour last week at Manhattan's Baryshinikov Arts Center. It was the first performance held in the US since Piotr Fomenko's death last year at the age of 80. “It’s very difficult without him,” said Alexey Kolubkov, a company member since 2001, to the Boston Globe. “He wasn’t just a teacher. He wasn’t just a leader. He was more of a protector.” (The Boston Globe)

arts news roundup
A file picture taken on December 13, 2007 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) as he presents an award to theater director Piotr Fomenko at the Kremlin in Moscow. One of the most famous directors of the Russian theater, Piotr Fomenko, died on August 9, 2012 in Moscow at the age of 80. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/GettyImages)

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EVENTS CALENDAR for the Week Starting Jan. 25

British Museum Exhibitions For 2013

Theater, Dance and Visual Arts Listings for Jan. 24