Crikey Worm: Terrorism arrest, 18C, and are we headed for recession? 

By Sally Whyte

Happy first day of autumn, early birds (it’s the best season of all). Terrorism comes to rural Australia, no changes recommended to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and are we headed for recession? It’s the news you need to know, by Sally Whyte and Max Chalmers.

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Factum Arte: the art copyists giving the Renaissance a renaissance

By Jonathan Jones

With their immaculate replicas of everything from Tutankhamun’s tomb to Italian architecture, this Madrid company is bringing ancient civilisations to life

The curator at the National Gallery could not contain her wonder. Calling me over to the replica of the Borgherini Chapel that has been installed as part of the gallery’s Michelangelo and Sebastiano exhibition, she pointed out a surreal detail. Not only has this reproduction of a piece of Renaissance architecture got hyperrealistic reproductions of the frescoes, marble decor and a half-domed alcove – it even has a modern plug socket sunk into the plaster.

That immaculate eye for detail is typical of the work of Factum Arte, a Madrid-based studio whose combination of digital analysis with assiduous craft is transforming the way we see art. I have been watching their work develop for nearly a decade. I am now convinced it is the most important thing happening in 21st-century art – because it can quite literally save civilisation.

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Desert X: the arid biennial that's bringing land art to Coachella

By Janelle Zara

The likes of Doug Aitken have decamped to the outskirts of Palm Springs to exhibit large-scale works that challenge the history of the western expansion and appear along the route to a certain music festival

Speeding down the Gene Autry Trail, a Palm Springs desert road named after the singing cowboy, there are mountains to the north and south, and billboards on each side. Somewhere between the ads for milkshakes and legal counsel, there are large-scale images of mountains, and from three exacting positions on the road, they suddenly snap into place; for a few brief moments, they perfectly align with the jagged scenery. And just as quickly, they’re behind you. Perhaps you had imagined it, or perhaps you didn’t notice them at all.

This fleeting mirage is LA-based artist Jennifer Bolande’s new work, Visible Distance/Second Sight, a site-specific homage to the landscape. She and 15 other artists have come to Palm Springs and the surrounding area as part of Desert X, a new exhibition of large-scale installations that stretches across 45 miles until 30 April. (Not coincidentally, they’re sited along the path leading from Los Angeles to behemoth music festival Coachella, which also takes place in April).

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Detectorists strike gold 20 years after leaving field empty-handed

By Maev Kennedy

Friends who returned to abandoned hobby find Iron Age gold jewellery – the Leekfrith torcs – in Staffordshire field

Two metal detecting friends have found a hoard of superb Iron Age gold jewellery after returning to a Staffordshire field where they previously found nothing and became so bored that they gave up the hobby and turned to fishing for 20 years.

The four Iron Age gold torcs – three collars and a bracelet-sized piece, including two made of twisted gold wire, two with trumpet shaped finials and one with beautiful Celtic ornament – are of international importance.

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Impulse buys and sealed white cubes: inside the world's greatest photography collections

By Stuart Franklin

Haitian looters, dining Hussars, a woman in heels strolling down Sniper’s Alley … two of the world’s most influential collectors of photography give us a rare glimpse inside their archives – and pick their favourites

Michael G Wilson has been the man behind every James Bond movie since Moonraker in 1979. But the 74-year-old hasn’t limited his role to being producer or executive producer. Wilson has also notched up no fewer than 18 cameos in 007’s various adventures, as pall-bearer, doctor, man in a corridor, police chief, army general, casino gambler, Nasa technician, Greek priest and Soviet security council member.

Wilson cuts a similar figure in the world of photography: hugely influential, yet content to remain an eminence grise. Since the 80s, his enthusiasm for collecting photographs has grown enormously, in tandem with the prices such works can now fetch at auction. This once underpriced commodity has now spawned a legion of speculators, dealers and collectors. These days, it’s not uncommon for a print to go under the hammer for more than a Turner watercolour.

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