Nancy Kenney

Nancy Kenney is Senior Editor at The Art Newspaper

News
Acquisitions

Adding to a robust trove, High Museum in Atlanta fields a gift of works by self-taught artists

Local couple donates 47 paintings, drawings and sculptures by Southerners and African Americans

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Museum expansion

Crystal Bridges plans an expansion that will boost its size by 50%

The design of new galleries and other spaces is overseen by Moshe Safdie, the Arkansas complex’s original architect

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Conservation & Preservation

Getty teams with city of Los Angeles to identify places that are important to African American heritage

Conservation effort goes beyond architectural distinction to highlight sites where Black residents embraced their culture and advocated for advancement

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layoffs

After avoiding layoffs, Oakland Museum of California now plans job cuts of 15%

Staff will shrink from 126 to 106 as institution pursues an organisational makeover

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Attendance

While US museum attendance nosedived in 2020 amid pandemic, disparities in reopenings yielded a few surprises

Huntington Library in California and Crystal Bridges in Arkansas ascended to the top of the visitor figures list

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Restoration

Solace through conservation: World Monuments Fund makes strides in restoring war-damaged sites in Yemeni city

Amid debilitating war, conservation of mausoleum and museum palace in Taiz is now complete

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Acquisitions

Getty acquires a striking painting by Artemisia Gentileschi of the Roman heroine Lucretia

The museum, which did not disclose the price, says the work reflects a shift to a more idealised style

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Detroit Institute of Arts

Several trustees resign from board of Detroit Institute of Arts as it reaffirms steps to monitor its besieged management

Director Salvador Salort-Pons was faulted in an independent review for authoritarian behaviour and insensitivity to race and gender

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Resignations

Leon Black, under fire, will reportedly not seek re-election as MoMA’s board chairman

Tumult over his former business ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein brought pressure for him to step down

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Protests

Coalition of activist groups announces ‘strike’ action against MoMA

Accusing the museum of elitism, alliance says its ultimate goal is “disassembling” the institution

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Museum trustees

MoMA’s board leader Leon Black quits equity firm, citing 'relentless scrutiny' over links to Epstein

Decision raises questions about his future role at the museum after artists call for him to go

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Deaccessioning

Baltimore Museum of Art director defends diversity goals that his institution hoped to meet through art sales

At a conference on deaccessioning, Christopher Bedford says that museum collections are “a literal manifestation” of prejudice and privilege

Review
Three to see

Three exhibitions to see in New York this weekend

From Julie Mehretu’s mid-career survey at the Whitney to the Frick Collection’s temporary encampment in the Breuer building

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Deaccessioning

Members of US museums association narrowly reject proposal to contemplate a change in guidelines on art sales

Amid debate, AAMD votes 91-88 against exploring a controversial revision of rules to allow proceeds to finance collections care

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Detroit Institute of Arts

After leak of recording detailing missteps by director, Detroit Institute of Arts says it is working to ensure that he measures up

Inquiry by outside law firm found a climate of retaliation, but museum says that all employees’ concerns will be addressed

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racism

In diversity and equity campaign, Walters Art Museum recognises the tarnished history of its founders

Institution issues newly written history that discloses its founders’ pro-Confederacy stance and business ties to racist labour practices in the South

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Acquisitions

Acquisitions round-up: trio of paintings by Italian artist nun Orsola Maddalena Caccia bequeathed to the Met

Our pick of the latest gifts and purchases to enter international museum collections

News
Acquisitions

Rose Art Museum, once on the brink of closure, celebrates 60th anniversary with gift of 86 works

After a proposed shutdown and sell-off in 2009, Brandeis University has repaired trust with donors, its director says

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Restitution

Looted in the 1980s, a sacred stele at the Dallas Museum of Art is headed back to Nepal

After FBI investigation, sculptural antiquity lent by a collector is determined to have a disturbing provenance

Review
Three to see

Three exhibitions to see in New York this weekend

From Lorraine O’Grady’s first museum retrospective to Carol Bove’s Met façade commission

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Outdoor sculpture

After an extended fight, acclaimed sculptural installation will leave National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington

An accord calls for Elyn Zimmerman’s Marabar to head to a new site, with the move and reinstallation financed by the society

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Jacob Lawrence

Travelling Jacob Lawrence show spurs discovery of a second missing painting in New York

Museums now appeal for information on three unlocated panels in the artist’s 1950s “Struggle” series

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Sculpture

‘They’re kind of impolite’: the artist Carol Bove ruminates on her steel and aluminium sculptures for the Met’s façade

Artist’s installation, delayed for months by Covid-19, playfully engages with the museum’s classical architecture

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Fundraising

After thwarted art sales, Baltimore Museum of Art marshalls funding to promote diversity and equity

Institution announces $1.46m in gifts to finance goals such as pay increases for hourly workers and extended visiting hours

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Conservation & Preservation

Officials reveal full extent of damage to US Capitol’s art after pro-Trump rampage

Officials explore harm to busts and paintings in the House from chemical sprays and describe frantic efforts to change airflows as melee unfolded

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Arts funding

‘Many museums will be lost’: US association appeals to Congress to support funding for institutions

Invoking the pandemic, advocates seek federal money for agencies that support museum programmes as well as operations grants and charitable tax deductions

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layoffs

Whitney lays off 15 more staff members, citing ‘extremely low’ attendance

Museum’s director notes that it may take until 2025 for tourists to return in force to New York

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Deaccessioning

Met director defends move to consider deaccessioning for collections care rather than art purchases

Max Hollein argues that more art will not necessarily be sold, although proceeds can now go to other purposes amid the pandemic financial crisis

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Internships

Asserting a quest for more equity, the Met introduces its first crop of fully paid interns

Students talk about their career goals and how being compensated proved to be an incentive

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diversity

Indianapolis museum apologises for posted job description describing a ‘core, white art audience’

Institution edits wording of director’s job opening to eliminate “white” after an outcry

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Museum directors

MOCA in Los Angeles will redefine its director’s duties and hire a new executive to oversee operations

Klaus Biesenbach will serve as artistic director once a financial leader is in place

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Installations

‘Absurd’, yet 'deadly serious’: Alex Da Corte will create the Met’s next rooftop installation

Sculptural installation will plumb the possibility of hope amid the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic

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Conservation & Preservation

World Monuments Fund pleads with Peru's government to delay airport construction work in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Organisation points out that Peru has not carried out an analysis of the heritage impact on Machu Picchu, Cusco and an Inca road network as requested by Unesco

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Appointments & departures

After a controversial year, director will leave the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Neal Benezra’s departure follows the museum’s deletion of an Instagram comment that faulted the institution on racial issues

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Deaccessioning

Rumbles of dissent emerge over Met’s proposal to expand deaccessioning

As the museum mulls art sales to finance collections care, critics worry that its example could open the floodgates for US art institutions

News
Acquisitions

Acquisitions round-up: flag and sledge from British polar expedition saved from leaving UK

Our pick of the latest gifts and purchases to enter international museum collections

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Censorship

PEN America issues a safety guide for artists facing repression

Non-profit organisation cites a “skyrocketing’’ number of individuals around the globe needing help with on-the-ground strategies or relocation

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Museum trustees

‘Toxic philanthropy’ versus ‘egalitarian principles’: artists, art workers and activists call for Leon Black’s removal as MoMA board chairman

Signers allude to his payments to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and other financial ties

Preview
Exhibitions

Unorthodox preacher: Leo Steinberg's prints helped explore and explain his sometimes controversial theories

An exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art in Texas looks at the legacy of the art historian through his vast collection, which includes different takes on Leonardo's Last Supper

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Artists

Joan Mitchell Foundation switches to longer-term support of US artists

Annual $25,000 grants will give way to disbursing $60,000 to individuals over five years, with an emphasis on financial advice

Interview
Museums & Heritage

Adversity forces reinvention: Matthew Teitelbaum on turbulent times at the MFA, Boston

After charges of racism levelled at his museum in 2019, Teitelbaum had to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. And then there was the Guston controversy

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Restitution

Museum of the Bible in Washington returns around 5,000 disputed biblical objects to Egypt

Institution has been faulted for a lack of oversight in determining what artefacts were legally exported and sold

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Mosul

Mosul’s artists, resurgent, speak out on new Google platform

Through videos, audio clips, 3D models of destroyed sites and images of their works, Iraqis describe what they endured and their hopes for the future

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Conservation & Preservation

Aliph finances effort to shore up crumbling Taq Kasra in Iraq, the world’s biggest brick vault

Foundation will direct $700,000 to emergency scaffolding, sensors and the drafting of a longer-term conservation plan

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Acquisitions

When everything turned upside down: Georg Baselitz donates six pathbreaking paintings to the Met

Portraits date from 1969, a pivotal point for an artist departing from conventional motifs

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Attribution

Its attribution restored, a Rembrandt portrait goes on view in Pennsylvania

A scientific analysis and conservation effort unveiled signature brush strokes and other marks of the master

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Museums & Heritage

A year after fire, Museum of Chinese in America launches digital platform with Google to celebrate its historical treasures

Viewers can track the recovery after the blaze and view hundreds of images of the New York museum’s artefacts

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Inauguration

At US Capitol, a new president and vice president greet 1859 painting with a rainbow theme

Painting by Black artist was chosen under Jill Biden’s guidance for a gift-giving ceremony

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Exhibitions

On eve of US inauguration, a chance to visit the president's office

Oval Office replica is a popular element of New-York Historical Society exhibition about the presidency

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Appointments

Guggenheim appoints Naomi Beckwith as deputy director and senior curator

Appointment of MCA, Chicago curator is seen as a step toward more inclusiveness after accusations of institutional racism

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Museums & Heritage

Smithsonian downsizes $2bn expansion of its south campus in Washington

The institution unveils planned changes to its historic Castle and Arts and Industries Building

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US Capitol riot

‘Shameful vandalism and desecration’ : Met leaders condemn right-wing crowd's assault on US Capitol

Museum joins other institutions in assailing protestors' rampage and hate-inspiring imagery as a threat to democracy and equality

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Museums & Heritage

Hirshhorn Museum is under pressure to reconsider redesign of its sculpture garden

Critics and city planners question changes to a historic reflecting pool and addition of stacked stone walls in a Modernist environment, while the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto defends his designs but says he is open to negotiating

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Protests

US Capitol’s works of art survive amid right-wing rampage in Washington

The authorities say that cleaning and conservation will be needed, however, after art was damaged by tear gas, pepper spray and fire extinguishers

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Conservation & Preservation

From lockdowns to looting: how Covid-19 has taken a toll on world's threatened heritage sites

Sites of major importance—many in regions already ravaged by conflict—are contending with security problems and funding shortfalls

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reopenings

Five Philadelphia museums jointly announce that they are reopening this month

Institutions act on go-ahead from the city after their second closing in November

Preview
The Year Ahead 2021

Major museum openings and expansions in 2021

From the much-anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum to the Frick’s move to a Brutalist landmark, here are the building projects aiming to change cultural landscapes around the world

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Museums

Acquisitions round-up—Fondation Beyeler gets a frosty Fischli/Weiss snowman

Our pick of the latest gifts and purchases to enter international museum collections

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Museums & Heritage

'Long overdue': US will build national museums for American Latinos and women's history after Congress approves historic bill

Bipartisan effort, decades in the making, permits Smithsonian Institution to move ahead with plans

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Openings

Amid Covid-19 adjustments, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles delays opening by five months

The museum’s debut, repeatedly postponed, is now anticipated in September of next year

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Appointments & departures

Peabody Essex Museum director is resigning after just 17 months

Brian P. Kennedy says he will seek a “new challenge” but offers no further details

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Emergency grants

Grants multiply as government agencies and foundations seek to rescue US cultural organisations amid pandemic

Latest allocations include $32.8m from the National Endowment for the Humanities and $47.1m from New York’s Department of Cultural Affairs

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Museums & Heritage

Peace offering: how museums help in troubled times

Amid the turmoil of the pandemic and the recent elections, US institutions with Tibetan Buddhist holdings respond with mindfulness events

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Unions

Employees at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh vote decisively to form a union

Goals include better pay and benefits, Covid-19 safety and a role in the institutions’ decision-making

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Appointments

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art appoints former nonprofit executive as its new director

Alyssa Nitchun hopes to advance New York museum’s role as a queer sanctuary and “provocateur”

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Public art

Noguchi lobby installation is carted away from its high-rise New York home, across the street from MoMA

Museum sought to keep the site-specific work in place at 666 Fifth Avenue, but developer decided it had to go during renovation

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Museums & Heritage

Lone senator blocks US bills creating museums that would celebrate American Latinos and women

Utah Republican says that such museums would “divide an already divided nation”

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Acquisitions

Ronald Lauder presents major gift of European arms and armour to the Met

Describing the donation as the most significant to the department in nearly 80 years, museum will rename galleries after Lauder

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Artists

Artist sues Los Angeles and the Chinese American Museum for junking his work

Lawsuit demands that court issue an injunction to prevent future dismantling of works of art without artists’ supervision

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Antiquities trafficking

After outcry from antiquities trade, Unesco further adjusts ad campaign on looted artefacts

Dealers association challenged the campaign’s claims that two newly pictured objects were stolen

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Dia Art Foundation

Dia Chelsea plans to reopen in April after connecting three buildings in a $20m project

Inaugural exhibition in New York will feature a film and light sculptures by Lucy Raven

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Appointments

Norton Museum of Art appoints Ghislain d’Humières, former director at the Speed, as its new leader

Director assumes the mantle after an expansion and long coronavirus shutdown

Analysis
The Year in Review 2020

Museums 2020: the year of crashing revenues and anti-racism disputes

Turbulent year draws to a close with sector wracked by pandemic lockdowns and Black Lives Matter challenges

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Resignations

After controversy over her leadership, Stanford says director of its Cantor Arts Center has resigned

Museum undertook an investigation of Susan Dackerman’s allegedly “toxic” leadership style and departures of many staff members

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Museums & Heritage

Smithsonian and National Gallery of Art will shut down again amid spike in coronavirus cases

Move by Washington, DC museums comes amid a wave of new US closures

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Architecture

Architect Emilio Ambasz’s foundation donates $10m to MoMA to create a green architecture institute

New entity will spur research on the relationship between architecture and nature and work toward “environmental justice”, the New York museum says

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Museums & Heritage

‘From bad to worse’: over half of US museums have laid off or furloughed staff, survey shows

Museums expect to lose an average of 35% of budgeted income this year, plus an additional 28% in 2021

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Nagorno-Karabakh

Metropolitan Museum of Art appeals for protection of cultural heritage sites in Nagorno-Karabakh

Plea comes as Azerbaijan moves to take control of swaths of territory under a Russian-brokered peace deal

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Openings

Challenges overcome as Houston's Museum of Fine Arts completes $450m campus expansion

Delayed by just three weeks amid the pandemic, new Kinder Building will dramatically increase space for Modern and contemporary art

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Museums & Heritage

Unesco under fire for using Met objects in anti-trafficking campaign

Advertisements said that the works were looted in recent years, but Met documentation shows that they have a much longer provenance

Preview
Exhibitions

When Boston fell head-over-heels in love with Monet

A new show at the Museum of Fine Arts recalls the time when the US city was first captivated by the French Impressionist

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Polls

A ‘snapshot in time’: how US museum directors viewed their world before the pandemic

In a sign of how drastically things would change, fewer than half prioritised online offerings in a wide-ranging survey

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election 2020

Art world rejoices in Biden’s win of US presidency

Artists, collectors, policy makers and gallery owners share their reactions after the tightly fought election

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Philip Guston

After tumult, museums say that a delayed Philip Guston exhibition will open in 2022

Citing “unease and anxiety” about the show, the director of MFA, Boston predicts it will spur “in-depth discussions about great art”

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layoffs

Keith Davis, senior curator at Nelson-Atkins, resigns to protest colleague's layoff

Museum’s drive to cut 36 jobs eliminated the position of photography curator Jane L. Aspinwall, who helped oversee acclaimed collection

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Architectural History

New York preservation group launches online mapping tool to champion former haunts of artists and activists

Organisation hopes the city will protect former home of Jackson Pollock and other buildings south of Union Square by designating a new historic district

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Deaccessioning

Baltimore Museum of Art calls off sale of Warhol, Still and Marden after outcry

Last-gasp decision after talks with the US museum directors association comes just before a Sotheby’s auction

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Deaccessioning

US Association of Art Museum Directors sends a warning note to its members on deaccessioning

As works head to market, organisation reminds members that its relaxed rules were not adopted to “incentivise” art sales

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Deaccessioning

Assailing leadership, two former board chairmen say they are rescinding $50m in planned gifts to Baltimore Museum of Art

Two artists also step down as board trustees amid turmoil over plans to deaccession three paintings

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Deaccessioning

Responding to outcry, Baltimore Museum of Art board chair defends deaccessioning decision

“The greatness of the BMA’s collection does not live within three individual paintings,” she says as the sale of a Warhol, Still and Marden approaches

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Prizes

Deana Lawson, photographer of highly staged tableaux, wins the Hugo Boss Prize

The artist, the first photographer anointed, will receive $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim

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Jacob Lawrence

Missing for decades, a Jacob Lawrence painting surfaces in response to a Met exhibition

A visitor makes the connection between the artist’s Struggle series and a work in a neighbour’s home

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Appointments & departures

'We are not a suburb of Paris': incoming director of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts champions a North American identity

Stéphane Aquin is taking over after Nathalie Bondil’s controversial dismissal

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Appointments

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts appoints new director

Stéphane Aquin faces the challenge of restoring stability after Nathalie Bondil’s disputed removal

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Deaccessioning

Former trustees and donors ask state to block sale of three important works by the Baltimore Museum of Art

Letter asks Maryland attorney general and secretary of state to investigate planned deaccessioning of a Warhol, Still and Marden

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Deaccessioning

Brooklyn Museum steams ahead on deaccessioning

After netting $4.2m for a Cranach, the museum plans to sell off works by Monet, Dubuffet, Degas, Miró and Matisse

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Ethics

Inquiry into actions by Detroit Institute of Arts director and board chair found no misconduct, museum says

Law firm hired by the Detroit museum found no conflict of interest in loan of art from director's family, it adds

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Tom Gores steps down from Lacma board after pressure over prison telecom ties

Billionaire investor argues in his resignation letter that he pushed for reforms

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Museum architecture

Space race: how the pandemic is pushing museums to rethink design

Experts predict bigger galleries, a stronger connection to the outdoors and an end to the expansion juggernaut