Preview

Gareth Harris

Chief contributing editor at The Art Newspaper

Preview
The Year Ahead 2020

New museums and major expansions opening in 2020

From Tutankhamun's new king-sized home in Cairo to Munch's sleek space in Oslo, here is our pick of the big openings this year

News
UK politics

UK art trade questions who benefits from England's freeport bonanza

Eight mega warehouses announced in the budget will 'unlock billions' in investment, says the government, but they have a tarnished reputation, market analysts warn

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Exhibitions

Blockbuster Jeff Koons survey to open in Qatar this autumn

More than 60 works will be included in the US artist’s first Middle Eastern exhibition

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Sculpture

Antony Gormley lends sculpture to fill an empty spot on the medieval façade of Wells Cathedral in England

The near-life-size contemporary work will join 300 historic depictions of saints and kings

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Venice

Billionaire collector Nicolas Berggruen takes steps to buy historic Venetian palace and turn it into a cultural thinktank

If the sale goes ahead, La Casa dei Tre Oci will be the Berggruen Institute's space for its European programming with plans to partner with major museums such as Tate and MoMA

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Redevelopment

Debenhams department store may become huge gallery as Covid-19 decimates London's Oxford Street

‘Oxford Street Art House’ would house studios and galleries across seven floors, say councillors

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Arts funding

UK Budget 2021: further £408m boost for struggling culture sector

Chancellor Rishi Sunak digs deep, adding £300m to the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund, £90m more for museums, and £18m for cultural community projects

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Censorship

Governments are ‘weaponising’ Covid-19 to silence dissident artist voices, report says

Seventeen artists were killed, 82 imprisoned and 133 detained over the past year in 26 countries, according to new Freemuse study

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Politics

Keep your distance, former culture ministers warn UK government

Independence of museums and heritage bodies is at risk, say Ed Vaizey and Chris Smith, as Johnson’s government pushes ‘anti-woke’ agenda

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Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Works by pioneering queer artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres to be displayed around Barcelona

New exhibition, organised by MACBA, aims to situate Gonzalez-Torres in relation to postcolonial discourse between Spain and the Americas

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Books

Calling all (digital) bookworms: virtual art book fair gives publishers a lifeline during the pandemic

Printed Matter's online venture offers new, rare and out of print publications alongside panels, trailers and prints

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Museums & Heritage

From Goya to Goldin: new museum puts Spanish city of Cáceres on the art world map

Dealer Helga de Alvear has donated her entire collection of 3,000 works, which include pieces by Tacita Dean, Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson and Wassily Kandinsky

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Museums

Are museums as Covid-risky as saunas? Culture leaders outraged over late reopening of English art spaces

Commercial galleries, non-essential retail, and even gyms have been given the green light to open before museums under the UK government's "roadmap" to lift coronavirus restrictions

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Controversies

Bank of England wades into UK's escalating culture war on controversial monuments, saying it will remove images of slave owners

“Retain and explain” or restrain and refrain? Culture chiefs raise the alarm on government’s policy to keep problematic statues ahead of crucial meeting

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Museums & Heritage

Officials confirm: museums in England can reopen from 17 May under Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap

Commercial galleries will be permitted to open from 12 April under the new plan to gradually lift Covid-19 safety measures

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Discoveries

Munch vandalised own Scream painting, declaring himself a ‘madman’, new research finds

Infrared scans indicate that the phrase, "Can only have been painted by a madman", matches the artist’s handwriting

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Brexit

Huge fee hikes for EU students who want to study art in the UK come into force from September

Visa issues and increased red tape could also deter European Union applicants, warn university leaders

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Collections

Radical plan could move UK's national art collections into former IKEA store in Coventry

The five-storey building will house nearly 17,000 works from the Arts Council and British Council collections, under proposed scheme

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Video, film & new media

Fill your boots: Dr. Martens gives £60,000 for new video commissions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London

Grants will be given to artists to create moving image works to premiere at the ICA's Image Behaviour 2021 forum

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Statues

Keep problematic monuments and ‘explain them’, UK government to tell cultural leaders

Opponents argue that some public statues reinforce racism, chauvinism, sexism and homophobia

Blog
Book Club

February’s book bag: Jesus as muse, tips from Douglas Coupland and a reassessment of Mary Wollstonecraft

The latest art publications rounded up in our new book bag section

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Archaeology

Body of archaeologist who died defending Palmyra from Isis has been found, Syrian media reports

Khaled al-Asaad was killed “because he would not betray his deep commitment to Palmyra”, said Unesco chief

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Monuments

Actor Riz Ahmed and Chisenhale director Zoé Whitley selected for new commission to diversify London's public monuments

New 15-member body will focus on the capital’s statues, street names and memorials

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Acquisitions

Uffizi acquires first 'street art' work—a mash-up of Gilbert & George and a crotch-grabbing Mark Wahlberg

Mixed-media montage by UK artist Endless was donated to the Florence museum

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Exhibitions

Britishness, belonging and Blackness: artists reflect on complexities of cultural identity in new London show

In the wake of Black Lives Matter movement, new exhibition at Lisson Gallery will feature 11 women and non-binary artists tackling issue of Britain’s colonial legacy

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Wallace Collection

Art library and archives at London's Wallace Collection could close to public as part of cost-cutting plans

Petition claims management want to ‘orientate the museum to income generation’

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Obituaries

'Constantly curious, uninterested in the market-led view': pioneering curator and writer Guy Brett has died, aged 78

His influential texts and exhibitions looked beyond Europe and the US to art from Latin America and Asia

Interview
Book Club

Q&A | Philip Guston’s daughter Musa Mayer on her new book and the uproar surrounding the artist’s postponed show

Although Guston's paintings of Klansmen “remain controversial today” they are also “deeply relevant”, she says

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Exhibitions

Damien Hirst’s shipwreck treasure trove to go on show beside Galleria Borghese's classical works in Rome

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable divided the critics when the sprawling exhibition launched in Venice in 2017

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Museums & Heritage

Spanish government signs deal securing €1bn Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

New arrangement, to last 15 years, means key works by Gauguin, Monet and Picasso have been saved for the nation

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Art market

‘The ultimate dealer of Old Master paintings’: New York dealer Richard Feigen has died, aged 90

The Met director Max Hollein pays tribute to the late gallery owner and collector, who also promoted artists from Max Beckmann to Peter Saul

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Education

Postgraduate art history students in UK say they are being encouraged to produce ‘less rigorous and ambitious’ research in light of pandemic

As the funding body, UK Research and Innovation, restricts additional funding, students are being asked to rethink projects

Feature
Middle Eastern & North African art

Street art, social media, visibility: how the Arab Spring has changed art and culture, a decade on

We ask artists, writers and experts on Middle Eastern art about their memories of the revolutionary movements—and what they think the lasting legacies are

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Art schools

Goldsmiths art school—alma mater of Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst—‘on edge of a precipice’

Lecturers have stopped assessing students after management consultants propose mass overhaul

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Funding

National Library of Wales—home to a 12,000-strong art collection—‘cannot survive’ if further job cuts are made

Petition calls on Welsh Government to increase funding for institution which holds works by Turner and Gainsborough

News
Giuseppe Penone

Arte Povera sculptor Giuseppe Penone donates more than 200 works on paper to Castello di Rivoli

Archival materials relate to significant sculptures and installations around Piedmontese region in Italy

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Artists

New website offers lifeline for UK artists struggling during the pandemic

ArtULTRA provides key information on grants, residencies, studio spaces and business matters

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US politics

Biden's repeal of US travel ban ‘changes the game’ for artists coming from Muslim-majority countries

Artistic Freedom Initiative group says the new executive order, overturning Trump's controversial rule, also allows artists to visit home “for the first time in years”

News
Statues

City of London to remove statues of politicians with slavery links

The decision to take down historic William Beckford and John Cass sculptures could go against new UK government policy

News
Acquisitions

Trove of Surrealist publications and paintings donated to Dutch museum

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen's gift from collectors Laurens Vancrevel and Frida de Jong “opens up new horizons on surrealist activities”, says expert

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Art market

New York art dealer Helly Nahmad pardoned by Trump

Hours before leaving office, former US president granted a pardon to Nahmad, who pleaded guilty to a federal gambling charge in 2014 and owned an entire floor of Trump Tower

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coronavirus

Museums around the world step up to be transformed into vaccination centres

London's Science Museum and a West Midlands museum where Peaky Blinders was filmed are just some of the venues doubling up as Covid-19 vaccine hubs

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Awards

Singer RM from Korean boyband BTS named 'art sponsor of the year'

The Bangtan Boys musician was recognised for donating $90,400 to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul last September

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Public art

UK government announces new laws to protect controversial historic monuments from 'woke worthies and baying mobs'

Proposed plans have been criticised as distraction tactics from the state's "lethally failed response to the pandemic and the consequences of a disastrous Brexit"

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Heritage

From mummies to mosques—new Google Arts & Culture initiative brings Egypt’s archaeological treasures to the masses

New online platform aims to turn traditionally scholarly subject into something "easily digestible and fun to explore"

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Auctions

Rejected Tintin cover design sets record for comic book art with €3.2m auction price

Sale of controversial 1936 painting criticised by organisation behind artist Hergé’s estate

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Pablo Picasso

Saga of Picasso murals ripped from Oslo building continues as heirs head to court

Family of artist Carl Nesjar—who collaborated on the works with Picasso—say they have a copyright claim and should help decide where the pieces are relocated

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George Floyd

Giant painting of George Floyd murder displayed on Los Angeles billboard after being cancelled in Minneapolis

Advertising firms in Minneapolis—where Floyd was killed by police—refused to show the work saying it was too violent, but advocacy group says it will try again

News
Celebrities

Cate Blanchett is building her own art gallery at her English country home

Old outbuildings on the actor's estate will be knocked down to make way for the studio—and provisions will be made for the protected bats that live there

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US politics

Storming of US Capitol: art world condemns police hypocrisy in pro-Trump riot

Artists Dread Scott and Glenn Ligon among cultural figures pointing out stark contrast in how law enforcement handled the mob compared with Black Lives Matter protestors

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Museums

Closure of London's Florence Nightingale Museum fuels fears that the pandemic will force smaller UK institutions to shut

Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead is also under threat of closure as part of cost-cutting measures by local council

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Discoveries

Is this ‘enormously powerful’ painting of Jesus Christ by El Greco? Spanish expert questions new attribution

Art history scholars disagree over possible discovery of work by Renaissance master, which is owned by private collector

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Anniversary

Remembering Dante—Uffizi unveils online exhibition of 'Divine Comedy' drawings by Federico Zuccari

Florence gallery also planning vast exhibition dedicated to the poet in Forlì featuring works by Michelangelo

Preview
Book Club

A selection of 2021 art publications—Musa Mayer on her father, Philip Guston; Jean Dubuffet in the spotlight

A monograph on Catherine Opie, an analysis of museums in the 21st century and an overview of Joseph Beuys also make the grade

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Obituaries

In memoriam: remembering art world figures who died in 2020

John Baldessari, Beverly Pepper, Irina Antonova and Christo were among those who died last year

Preview
The Year Ahead 2021

Our guide to the top biennials and triennials coming up in 2021

Previews of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo, Prospect.5 and the 11th Liverpool Biennial—plus, lots of dates for your diary

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Acquisitions

A 'milestone' moment—US National Gallery of Art acquires 40 works by Black Southern artists

Works were purchased from Souls Grown Deep Foundation in a move that could ‘alter the canon of American art'

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Museums

Spanish government sets January deadline to break deadlock over Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum collection

Culture minister wants to move the ‘red lines’ in negotiations with Baroness Carmen Cervera

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Awards

UK New Year’s Honours 2021: awards for artists Michael Landy and Denzil Forrester

Former Tate Britain chief Stephen Deuchar is knighted; curator Lesley Fitton and ceramicist Jennifer Lee also recognised

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Monuments

Vilified statue of Abraham Lincoln and kneeling slave removed from Park Square in Boston

Artist’s campaign and petition prompted dismantling of ‘Emancipation Group’ piece—but original still stands in Washington DC

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Brexit

Art specialists pore over the Brexit trade deal—and deliver their verdict

Artist’s resale right, import VAT, red tape, and smuggling directives are addressed by our experts

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Obituaries

Artist David Medalla—the kinetic art pioneer known for his Cloud Canyons foam sculptures—has died, aged 82

Tributes paid to Manila-born trailblazer who co-founded hugely influential Signals gallery in 1960s London

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Emergency grants

Numbers game: UK cultural emergency funds in the spotlight

Despite a £1.57bn pot, an algorithm-based grant-making process and complex criteria have left some major institutions empty-handed

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Museums

Rehung and revamped Mona museum in Tasmania opens its doors after nine-month closure

Collector David Walsh’s celebrated subterranean gallery marks tenth anniversary next month

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Antiquities & Archaeology

Ancient ‘fast food’ stall comes to light during Pompeii dig

Thermopolium snack bar is revealed in full, providing "extraordinary evidence of the Mediterranean diet', says director

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Media

Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s ‘human canvas’ piece inspired new body tattoo movie

‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ is about a Syrian refugee who gets inked and exhibited in a Brussels museum

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Redundancies

Curators responsible for Queen’s art collection lose their jobs in Covid-19 cost-cutting exercise

Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures post, held by Desmond Shawe-Taylor, will be ‘lost and held in abeyance’

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Acquisitions

Acquisitions round-up: European museums co-purchase El Anatsui sculpture from collector Uli Sigg

Woodland scene by Jan Brueghel the Elder heads to Washington DC; London’s National Portrait Gallery gets a Gainsborough via acceptance in lieu

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Denmark

Rector at Danish art academy steps down over royal bust drowned by artist protesting school’s colonial legacy

Row over plaster cast of monarch dumped in the canal escalates after Danish culture ministry steps in

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David Hockney

David Hockney appoints Royal Academy curator Edith Devaney as his new managing director

Devaney, previously at the RA for 22 years, will oversee artist’s catalogue raisonné among other projects

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Restitution

Congolese activist who tried to seize an artefact from the Louvre is fined €5,000

Mwazulu Diyabanza says that “museums do not deserve respect” as restitution debate intensifies

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Auctions

Warhol, Oldenburg, Fontana: star works from Christo and Jeanne-Claude collection go on the block

Proceeds from the pieces sold at Sotheby’s Paris in February will go towards the artist duo's estate

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Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst installs giant sculpture in middle of frozen St. Moritz Lake

UK artist is showing more than 40 works in his Mental Escapology exhibition in the Alpine Swiss city

Podcast

2020: the year in review

The Art Newspaper team picks apart this year's biggest art stories, from the art market heading online to the fight for racial justice

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Philanthropy

Billionaire Leonard Blavatnik donates £10m to the Courtauld Institute of Art

Suite of galleries in refurbished Courtauld Gallery will be named after the Ukraine-born industrialist

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Exhibitions

Botticelli bonanza in Paris next year with major show of masterpieces

New exhibition at Musée Jacquemart-André presents 15th-century artist as an entrepreneur and prolific designer

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Redundancies

London's Southbank Centre rehires 40 workers who lost their jobs in the wake of Covid-19

Staff who have been made redundant are being recruited again following extension of furlough job retention scheme by UK government

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Museums & Heritage

Museums and galleries in London to close from Wednesday under new Covid Tier 3 restrictions

But arts professionals heavily criticise the government decision, saying there is “no logic” behind the move

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Saudi Arabia

Philip Tinari appointed curator of inaugural Ad-Diriyah Biennale in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom’s largest ever contemporary art exhibition will aim to deliver a more "open" image of the country

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Museums

Leeds museum makes history by hosting Covid-19 vaccination hub

High-risk patients get Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Thackray Museum of Medicine

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Funding

Historic Royal Palaces gets £40m lifeline loan and Southbank Centre gets £11m in latest round of UK Covid-19 funding

Rem Koolhaas’ Factory arts hub in Manchester—scheduled for completion in 2022—gets £21m grant

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Musee d'Orsay

French politicians want Musée d’Orsay named after late French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing

Former minister Rachida Dati calls on Emmanuel Macron to authorise the change

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Institute of Contemporary Art, London

ICA London to reopen early 2021 after closing for almost a year

Exhibition on advocacy group Tottenham Rights—with a focus on Mark Duggan shooting—scheduled for next Spring

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Art market

New online platform puts London’s emerging art scene on the map—literally

Credit X has created digital map and database of less established art spaces and galleries in the hopes of balancing out an art world "shaped by market forces", it says

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Politics

Tania Bruguera under house arrest in Cuba as anti-government protests escalate

Authorities are “building a case against” the artist, says sister

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Prizes

New art prize allows London's National Gallery to tour Dutch masterpiece around UK

Tech entrepreneur Frédéric Jousset wants to shake up long-standing museum models through the ambitious award

News
Manifesta

Biennial on the beach: Barcelona to host 2024 edition of Manifesta

German city lined up for 2026 edition but the next edition will vie with Venice Biennale and Documenta

Blog
Book Club

What was the best art book you read in 2020? The art world’s biggest names give us their top tips

The directors of the Met, Tate Modern, British Museum, Centre Pompidou and more, as well as artists such as Tracey Emin, tell us all about their favourite book—just in time for Christmas shopping

Feature
Book Club

Extract | Why I made Love is the Message—Arthur Jafa describes the inspiration for his seminal film

In a recently published Cahiers d’Art monograph, the US artist speaks about responding to “a tsunami of footage of Black people getting killed”

News
Tate Modern

Tate will cut 120 jobs to 'survive crisis'

The institution has launched a voluntary redundancy scheme but could ‘move to compulsory redundancy in 2021’

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Exhibitions

Vivian Maier, reclusive nanny turned photographer, gets biggest ever show in Paris next year

Unseen works and Super 8 films reveal new aspects of her practice

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Stonehenge

Stonehenge campaign group plans to sue UK government over controversial tunnel scheme

£1.7bn project breaches Unesco’s World Heritage convention says campaign group

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Cuba

Hunger strike against Cuba's human rights abuses left artist in ‘critical condition’

Activists and artists were trapped in Havana building following demonstrations against police action

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UK politics

Spending Review: UK museums to receive £320m during ‘biggest economic decline in 300 years’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces slight boost to culture department's budget, but some institutions face extended closure under new tiered system

News
Museums & Heritage

'Rent has increased by 3,100% since 2012': London heritage society says it may sell collection after UK government hikes costs

The Society of Antiquaries is launching a campaign to stay in historic home of Burlington House, close to Piccadilly

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

Pompeii dig unearths incredible preserved remains of two men engulfed in volcanic ash

Plaster casts were made of the newly discovered victims of Vesuvius eruption, which are believed to have been a wealthy landowner and his slave

Feature
Book Club

In Pictures | Andy Warhol's explicit drawings from the 1950s that he never got to publish

New book brings together hundreds of images of nude young men, which “are imbued with an emotional vulnerability that few of his later works exhibit”

Analysis
Museums

Where next for museums? Four key takeaways from Louvre Abu Dhabi symposium on the post-pandemic future

Event marking anniversaries of the Emirati museum and New York University Abu Dhabi looked at museum collections, buildings and people, and the impact of coronavirus

News
Museum entry fees

London's National Gallery charges £8 for virtual tour of blockbuster Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition

Move reflects how museums could cash in on digital initiatives

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Gwangju Biennale

Gwangju Biennale artistic directors discuss Korean shamanism and planning in a pandemic

13th edition of the biannual Korean art exhibition will look at queer theory, feminism and how centuries of tradition collide with contemporary art

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Collectors

Actor Samuel L. Jackson and footballer Samuel Eto’o pay tribute to art collector Sindika Dokolo during six-hour televised memorial

Dokolo was buried at Brompton Cemetery in West London yesterday following his funeral at Westminster Cathedral