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Acquisitions

UK fails to save painting of 'paramount importance' as Getty export licence is granted

Recently rediscovered 18th-century work by artist Joseph Wright of Derby was bought by the Los Angeles museum in March last year

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Brazil

Brazil's culture secretary dismissed after channeling Joseph Goebbels in video promoting national arts prize

Roberto Alvim, a former theatre director, is a die-hard supporter of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro

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Acquisitions

National Portrait Gallery acquires 20 works from collecting couple

Ian and Annette Cumming set out to commission likenesses of people who would remain renowned

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Pablo Picasso

Caught smuggling Picasso on his yacht, Spanish billionaire collector gets €52m fine and 18 months in prison

Jaime Botin, of the Santander dynasty, did not have a permit to export the painting

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Saudi Arabia

Desert X AlUla—the inaugural sculpture biennial in a historic Saudi Arabian valley—announces participants

Wael Shawky, Superflex and eL Seed are among the artists who will base works on the ancient history of the region

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Exhibitions

Sean Scully to have first show in Switzerland in nearly a decade

Italian dealer Marco Voena is supporting an exhibition of the Irish artist's work at the Forum Paracelsus in St Moritz

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Museums

Tokyo’s treasure house of Impressionist painting reopens as Artizon Museum

Former Bridgestone Museum of Art will have new focus on creativity through the ages after a three-year renovation

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Restitution

Berlin restitutes painting to heirs of 'degenerate' artist for the first time

A portrayal of Lot by Hans Baldung Grien was sold to the Gemäldegalerie in 1937 by Hans Purrmann

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Biennials & festivals

Honolulu Biennial switches to triennial format

The next exhibition curated by Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu will open in February 2022, with a preview symposium held the year before

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Crime

Released but still under investigation: Russian couple embroiled in fraud scandal

Igor and Olga Toporovsky linked to controversial show of Russian avant-garde works in Ghent

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Park Avenue Armory

Park Avenue Armory to commission 100 women artists for centennial of 19th amendment

Partner institutions across the city will help select artists to commemorate milestone anniversary of womens’ right to vote

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Politics

Russian government quits as Putin rewrites constitution—with the help of key cultural leaders

Directors of the State Hermitage Museum and State Tretyakov Gallery are part of a team enlisted to create laws that will allow the president to remain in power

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Exhibitions

Cecily Brown will fill grand birthplace of Winston Churchill with images of broken Britain

UK artist says exhibition at Blenheim Palace is a timely opportunity to examine the country's current tumult

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Exhibitions

Taiwan to host censored Aichi Triennale show

Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art is planning to restage the exhibition, which was partly closed due to violent threats over the inclusion of a 'comfort woman' statue

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MoMA PS1

Artists in PS1 Gulf War show urge museum to sever ties with toxic philanthropy

After Michael Rakowitz paused his video, 37 artists have signed an open letter condemning investments by MoMA board members Larry Fink and Leon Black into private prisons, weapons manufacturing and defense firms

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Virtual and augmented reality

New Museum and Onassis Foundation join to launch a mixed reality lab in New York

The new venture will offer a dozen artists' residencies and an exhibition space

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Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Los Angeles’s Lucas Museum acquires major archive of African American cinema

Although its building is still under construction, the institution is partnering with Lacma on a one-day film programme in South Los Angeles next month

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Art law

UK light artist sues Miami botanical garden over 'unauthorised replicas' of his work

Bruce Munro claims the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens intentionally imitated his works for its festive event known as The NightGarden

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Frieze

Frieze shake-up: former media boss chosen as company's first CEO

Changes are afoot with both the fairs and the magazine as majority shareholder Endeavor make plans for the future

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Venice Biennale 2021

Stan Douglas to represent Canada at 2021 Venice Biennale

The multimedia artist’s sci-fi epic Doppelgänger from the last international exhibition is due to be shown in New York and London this month

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Public art

Living refugees of civil war honoured in New York public art project by Krzysztof Wodiczko

The artist hopes to transform an existing monument with contemporary experiences so there will be “no more need for new war memorials”

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Commissions

Korean wave hits the art world: K-pop stars collaborate on major artist projects

Connect BTS will take place across five cities and involve commissions by artists such as Antony Gormley and Tomás Saraceno

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Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst medicine cabinet bought for £600 goes on sale for over £1m

Softer YBA market faces test as collection amassed by London bond trader goes under the hammer at Phillips next month

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Restitution

Arts Council England asks for help in returning looted artefacts held in UK museums

Tender opened for guidance around repatriation questions for items including those acquired from former colonies

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Catalogues raisonnés

Secret papers on famous artists including Gauguin, Renoir and Monet to be revealed

New York-based Wildenstein-Plattner Institute will digitise fabled Wildenstein archive of sale catalogues, letters and experts’ notes

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Museums

Will new €50m Albertina Modern museum revolutionise Vienna’s contemporary art scene?

Satellite venue of historic Albertina is to focus on Austrian and international art made after 1945

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Museums & Heritage

Director is out at Erie Art Museum

Departure follows New York Times article describing objectionable behaviour with female employees

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Appointments

Nazi loot expert joins Louvre to investigate its wartime acquisitions

Hire of French art historian Emmanuelle Polack suggests a more proactive stance on Nazi-era provenance research at Paris museum

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Art market

Sotheby’s to auction three Nazi-looted works restituted to Jewish collector’s heirs

Two paintings by Signac and one by Pissarro are expected to fetch as much as £20m

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Art crime

Why do courts lack conviction in art cases?

Collapse of Bulmer theft case is just the latest in string of failed art-related convictions

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Venice Biennale

Cecilia Alemani appointed artistic director of the 2021 Venice Biennale

The High Line and Art Basel Cities curator is the first Italian woman to hold the position

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British Museum

Climate activists urge British Museum to reject BP funding, as Arctic exhibition announced

Planned show seeks to raise awareness of climate change, but London museum dogged by controversy over partnership with oil and gas giant

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Art education

'Taking us back to the dark ages': UK-Europe exchange programme Erasmus hangs in the balance

Art history academics speak out as impending Brexit deadline threatens European partnership

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Albrecht Dürer

Possible Dürer discovered above souvenir shop in Vienna's cathedral

Experts believe underdrawing in St Stephen’s is first evidence that the master worked in the Austrian capital

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Contemporary art

Rodney Graham’s Spinning Chandelier creates a ‘class-warfare’ debate in Vancouver

Installation in gentrified area is criticised as artists are priced out of the city's housing market

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Museums & Heritage

Five years after Charlie Hebdo attack, France plans centre dedicated to satirical cartoons

In honour of the victims and to promote the medium, the French culture ministry will create "a meeting, training and exhibition place"

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Art market

Tough UK anti-money laundering law comes into force tomorrow—here's what you need to know

The lawyer Kenneth Mullen offers advice to art dealers, agents and galleries who could be unprepared for the hastily enforced new regulations

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Paul Cézanne

Drop the accent? Cézanne’s acute dilemma

A campaign to revert the artist's surname to the original Provençal spelling is being led by the artist's grandson

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German art

How a vast Käthe Kollwitz collection ended up at the Getty

Richard Simms, the 93-year-old donor, built up the enviable collection on a dentist’s salary starting in the 1960s

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Restitution

New evidence cited in restitution claim for Panama Papers Modigliani

Dealer Oscar Stettiner’s grandson says painting, now owned by David Nahmad, was looted by Nazis

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Discoveries

Like ‘Tutankhamun’s tomb’: first look inside emperor's sepulchre in 500 years reveals magnificent treasures

Discovery in Vienna's St Stephen's cathedral was made with photographs taken through a small hole in the marble

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Palais de Tokyo

Artists criticise Palais de Tokyo partnership with Qatari museum over LGBTQ rights

Mathaf's guest show at Paris contemporary art centre marks Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture

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Heritage

Trump retracts threats against Iranian culture sites saying: ‘I like to obey the law’

The US president’s reversal comes after widespread condemnation and defense officials’ assurances that military would abide by international law

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Conservation & Preservation

Puerto Rico prepares to assess toll of powerful earthquakes

A colonial-era church collapses and more damage to historic buildings is expected

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Collectors

Angola freezes assets of billionaire and her art collector husband

Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, is married to Sindika Dokolo who has been working for years on repatriating works to the African continent

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Instagram

What if 19th-century artists had used Instagram? asks Musée d’Orsay's new artist-in-residence

French illustrator and painter Jean-Philippe Delhomme will post a new image on Paris museum's Instagram account every week for a year

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Photography

Double exposure: new Paris venue to unveil two historic photography collections

Exhibition space will show and sell digital reproductions of images from the archives of the Roger-Viollet agency and France-Soir newspaper

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Auction houses

2020 vision: the big year of change for auction houses?

Supported by transformational new technology, the sector is ditching its traditional business model in favour of the luxury goods market

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Museums & Heritage

Cultural heritage officials condemn Trump’s threats against Iranian sites

Meanwhile, an impromptu tribute to the country’s cultural heritage broke out on Twitter, as users posted images of their favourite places

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Restitution

How a Nazi-looted painting entered an Israeli museum

Tel Aviv Museum of Art reveals surprising provenance of 19th-century work by Jozef Israëls, which will be restituted to Jewish owner’s heirs in October

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Animal welfare

E-commerce sites accused of fostering trade in ‘blood brushes’

Wildlife trust calls on artists and online markets to help stem illicit sales of Indian mongoose hair

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Obituaries

‘Godfather of conceptual art’ John Baldessari dies aged 88

The Californian artist and teacher won numerous awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama

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Disasters & destruction

National Gallery of Australia closes due to bushfire smoke around Canberra

Director says that decision was taken to protect public and works

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Preview

Matisse birth anniversary marked by blockbuster show at the Centre Pompidou

Rarely seen works show how the modern master combined text and image

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Conservation

How medical experts helped curators discover the hidden secrets of a Senufo helmet mask

Spectral CT scans enabled the Dallas Museum of Art to identify unknown elements in the West African piece

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Artists

Damien Hirst sculptures undergo restoration in Gloucestershire ahead of retrospective

Multi-million-pound works spotted outside artist's Stroud studio complex

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Controversies

Russian collecting couple arrested in Belgium

Igor and Olga Toporovsky linked to controversial show of Russian avant-garde works in Ghent

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Venice

Governing body of St Mark’s basilica wants to build a Perspex anti-flood wall

Officials warn cathedral cannot take any more damage after the record-breaking floods that hit Venice in November

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Yemen

Museum restoration offers rare glimmer of hope in war-torn Yemen

Yemeni authorities and World Monuments Fund team up to repair ruined National Museum in Taiz

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Tax

Demand for New York's first freeport facility steps up

Increasing numbers of dealers and collectors take advantage of tax-exempt Arcis, the foreign trade zone in Harlem

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Vandalism

Picasso painting of Dora Maar vandalised at Tate Modern

Conservation team assesses the defaced work; man is charged with criminal damage

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Comment

As The Art Newspaper turns 30, the question is—will the A-word survive?

"Art" is a loaded term, freighted with associations of class and power

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Artists

Yinka Shonibare plans ambitious artist residency programme in Nigeria

The artist's foundation will run spaces in Lagos and Ijebu coinciding with the 2021 Art X Lagos fair

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Public art

Image mocking Australian Prime Minister's Hawaiian holiday raises A$50,000 for fire service

Scott Marsh’s mural on a wall in Sydney was painted over

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Cathedral of Notre Dame

Notre Dame enters a new and high-risk phase in its restoration

A huge forest of scaffolding, fused by the fire in April, has to be cut away

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Awards

UK New Year’s Honours 2020: awards for ceramicist Magdalene Odundo and artist David Shrigley

Turner prize winner Steve McQueen made a knight; museum chief Tim Marlow and curator Ann Gallagher also recognised

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Museums

The Met’s British galleries are radically reimagined for museum's 150th anniversary

Lead curator says relaunch next spring is timely as "the UK is reassessing its role on the European and global stage”

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Money laundering

Is the art trade ready for new EU law calling for tough action on "dirty money"?

Many dealers say new regulations on money laundering will be almost impossible to comply with

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Museums & Heritage

As Nazi objects and fakes enter collectors’ market, should museums show them?

Highly publicised sales and seizures of Nazi memorabilia raise questions about whether such items should be exhibited

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Exhibitions

Radical performance artist Ulay gets a solo show at Stedelijk Museum

In the years before and after his collaboration with Marina Abramović, he created important works, curators say

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Museums

Sent packing: V&A mission to empty 250,000 objects from Blythe House is on target

West London storage centre will be empty by late 2022 following move to state-of-the-art collection centre in Olympic Park

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Artists

Oh no he isn't—artist turns into "panto" horse to highlight absurdity of UK political situation

Roland Carline has modified his exhibition at the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art

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Art market

French government has 30 months to find funding for Cimabue kitchen painting

Culture ministry blocked export of medieval work but will the French state proceed with purchase?

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Export policies

UK buyer sought for £8m Gainsborough masterpiece barred from export

Pastoral landscape sold at Sotheby’s was once owned by Royal Holloway college

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Appointments

Olympic games supremo Martin Green to lead 2022 post-Brexit UK festival

Conservative government wants £120m event to “celebrate all four nations’ offer to the world”