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Art market

Can Biden's inauguration galvanise the US art world into finally taking action against climate change?

As new US president plans to tackle global warming on "an epic scale", green initiatives such as Galleries Commit are gaining steam

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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

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Alphonse Mucha

Art Nouveau pioneer Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic finds a home at last—and it’s designed by Thomas Heatherwick

Monumental cycle of 20 paintings will be displayed in the Savarin development in central Prague

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Artists

Hundreds of artists’ studios in Moscow to be bulldozed amid government’s huge renovation plan

Evicted artists say authorities are leaving them out in the cold by failing to provide alternative workshops

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Commercial galleries

Galleria Continua opens new Paris space with JR-curated show

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, Italian gallery hopes to "generate smiles" with second outpost in France

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Joe Biden

The art in Biden’s Oval Office reflects hope for a less divided America

The office includes an ode to Roosevelt and a sculpture by the Indigenous artist Allan Houser

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Art market

Déjà vu: Art Basel postponed from June to September—again

Swiss fair was also delayed from June to September in 2020, before being cancelled altogether due to coronavirus

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Art market

Why Sotheby's $80m Botticelli continues to mystify experts

Star lot of upcoming New York Master Week sales is set to smash previous auction record for the Early Renaissance painter

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Art market

Social media replaces fairs as the third most successful sales channel for galleries in 2020, study reveals

Websites have replaced walk-ins as the second best way to sell art, but staying in top position is outreach to existing clients, according to Artsy Gallery Insights 2021 Report

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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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Literature

With powerful poem, Amanda Gorman sets the tone for Biden’s presidency

The 22-year-old Los Angeles poet was the youngest ever to deliver a recitation on Inauguration Day. Listen and read her words here

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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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Public art

Seesaw installation at US-Mexico border wins Design of the Year award

The joyful project became a counterpoint to the division and violence sown by the Trump administration

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US politics

US Capitol riot: Pennsylvania artist charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct

Federal authorities have ordered Andrew Wrigley to turn over his passport and avoid travel to Washington, DC after posting selfies from the insurrection

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Art market

UK Supreme Court judgment on pandemic insurance payouts 'not a blank cheque' for art organisations

Some insurers using "aggressive tactics" to reduce barrage of claims following rejection of appeal on clarification of business interruption cover

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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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Salvator Mundi

Police discovers stolen Salvator Mundi in Naples apartment

The copy of Leonardo's $450m painting was taken from the Museum of San Domenico Maggiore last year

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Public art

Biden inauguration is largely virtual—but some live art is planned

A public art installation of 200,000 flags opens on the National Mall, as coronavirus and heightened security forces most events online

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Vancouver

Douglas Coupland brings his prophetic slogans to Vancouver's billboards

Slogans for the 21st Century are on view in the city's new Arbutus Greenway

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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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Acquisitions

'Consigned to history': Trump Baby blimp donated to Museum of London collection

Creators of inflatable effigy hope work serves as a "reminder of the fight against the politics of hate" that took place during Trump's presidency

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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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Social media

Art history with a side of mayonnaise: Uffizi Galleries launches new Facebook cooking show

Weekly video series “Uffizi da mangiare” invites Florentine chefs to present recipes inspired by the Italian museum's collection

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Appointments

Orange County Museum of Art names Heidi Zuckerman as director

Former leader of Aspen Art Museum says she was beguiled by the California institution’s history and new building by Morphosis

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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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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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coronavirus

Culture injection: Coronavirus vaccination centres in Germany are giving patients a dose of art

As exhibitions are cancelled due to the pandemic, local artists are finding creative ways to show their art—and distract patients

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US politics

‘The house needs a cleaning’: Women artists gather to show the path forward on inauguration day

Inspired by the historic election of Kamala Harris as America’s first woman vice president, artists collaborate on a new online work presented by Creative Time

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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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Artists

‘Britain’s most important political artist’ Peter Kennard joins London gallery

Richard Saltoun exhibition will include artist’s earliest works incorporating newspaper images

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Churches

Pew! Sussex church may scrap plans to remove historic seating

Moves by parishes to replace pews with chairs for “flexibility” anger traditionalists

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Art market

Holy hammer! Near mint copy of Batman #1 sells for record $2.2m at Heritage Auctions

The rare 1940 issue, which marks the first appearance of the Joker and Catwoman, is the second most expensive comic book ever sold

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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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Coronavirus resources

Governors propose ambitious plans to bring the arts back to California and New York

Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo have announced plans to support art institutions and artists hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic

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Law

Art lawyer Frank Lord opens private practice in New York

As well as working on high profile restitution cases, the former Herrick Feinstein partner has a PhD in art history

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Archaeology

Archaeologists have discovered world's oldest animal cave painting

The warty pig painting was found in a cave in Indonesia and is thought to be at least 45,500 years old

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Artists

Darya Apakhonchich is first artist labelled 'foreign agent' by new repressive law in Russia

Individuals who receive funding from abroad are subject to strict audits since 30 December

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Catalogue raisonné

First online Max Beckmann catalogue raisonné to go live tomorrow as artist's work enters public domain

Hamburg’s Kunsthalle to publish photographs of 843 paintings for free research tool

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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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Brazil

Brazilian sculptor João Turin memorialised with sculpture park in Paraná

The site will “encourage sustainable development that values the fauna and flora of the Brazilian environment—the themes to which Turin dedicated his life”, says collector and businessman Samuel Lago

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Deaccessioning

The fate of the San Francisco Art Institute’s historic Diego Rivera mural hangs in limbo

The proposed sale of the work has raised outcry from artists and city leaders, who have taken action to protect it

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Restitution

Spitzweg drawing from Gurlitt hoard returned to Jewish publisher’s heirs

The musical scene was seized by the Gestapo in 1939 from Henri Hinrichsen, who died at Auschwitz

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Documenta

Documenta 15 postponement increasingly likely, general director says

Travel restrictions could derail preparations, making 2022 date impossible, Sabine Schormann says

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Exhibitions

Kara Walker's secret archive to go on show at Kunstmuseum Basel this summer

Around 600 unseen drawings, collages, studies and writings will flood the museum's ground-floor galleries, providing a window into the American artist's work

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National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada adds community and HR leaders to management team

Angela Cassie and Tania Lafrenière join the institution as part of its first strategic plan

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Design

Heatherwick’s Vessel closed to the public after third suicide in less than a year

The community board has asked the developer to raise the height of platform barriers to prevent further deaths

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Art fairs

Expo Chicago art fair is postponed again, until at least July

Online edition will open in April, however, as planners prepare for an in-person version, perhaps even later in September or next year

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Controversies

Kamel Mennour gallery's representation of Claude Lévêque suspended after allegations of abuse of minors

According to French media reports, a police investigation has been launched into violations dating back to the 1970s

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Prizes

Lithium mining and a Donald Judd horror film: nominees for Prix Marcel Duchamp—France's most prestigious contemporary art award—announced

The four artists will have their work exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris for the prize, worth €35,000

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Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera commissioned to create a colossal mural as part of $35m Blanton Museum redesign

The 105-year-old artist says she has long admired the museum's focus on Latin American art

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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

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Paris

Champs Élysées—one of Paris’s most polluted roads—to be transformed into ‘extraordinary garden’

The major avenue will undergo a €250m makeover to restore its former splendour, following the 2024 Summer Olympics

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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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Desert X

Desert X postpones opening amid Covid-19 surge in California

The outdoor festival, due to take over Coachella Valley in February, will now wait until lockdown restrictions are lifted

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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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Art market

Art shippers face ‘teething problems’ transporting works to Europe after Brexit

Some air freight crates are being broken open by customs officials in EU, but UK lockdown is posing greater problems, members of the trade say

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Chora Museum

Has Turkey halted plans to turn Chora museum into a mosque?

Experts ponder the significance of the sudden scrapping of Islamic prayers by Turkish authorities at Istanbul’s historic landmark

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Racism in the art world

Meet the experts who root out racism and exclusion in the arts

Racial equity consultants are helping to roll out strategies and training for museum staff and executives

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Palmyra

New hope that ancient Palmyra will be rebuilt after Isis damage

Deal between the Syrian government and Russian masonry body builds on country’s research into state of archaeological site

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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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Commissions

This Victorian house in London hides remarkable Islamic interiors—now it is getting its first contemporary work

Leighton House Museum—which was once the home and studio of artist Lord Leighton—is undergoing restoration and will reopen in 2021

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Collectors

Moderna vaccine billionaire Timothy Springer explains his love for Chinese scholar rocks

Gongshi—whose unusual forms are created by years of river erosion—have long been highly prized in Asia. Now they are garnering admirers in the West

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Museums

Opening of Pinault's Bourse de Commerce postponed as French museums told to remain closed

Scheduled to reopen this week, cultural institutions must keep their doors shut after an increase in Covid-19 cases

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Pablo Picasso

This Picasso photo puzzle has stumped experts. Can you help solve it?

The identity of those posing with the master remains a mystery a century after the picture was taken

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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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Musée du Louvre

The Musée du Louvre—the world’s most popular art museum—saw 72% drop in visitors last year

Despite kicking off 2020 with a record-breaking Leonardo exhibition, like many museums around the world, the Parisian institution was adversely affected by coronavirus lockdowns

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Exhibitions

Death row inmate designs garden installation by instructing university students through letters

Timothy Young, currently incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison, is a key contributor to the University-led art project, Barring Freedom, that aims to put the US criminal justice system in the dock

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Conservation & Preservation

Volunteers plan to return ‘Albert Hall of the North’ to its glory days

After years of neglect, ornate Victorian auditorium in northern seaside town of Morecambe is being saved

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Brexit

Will new EU lighting rules pull the plug on neon art?

Artists producing neon works may fall foul of stricter EU lighting regulations that come into force this year

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Public art

Vandals apprehended after covering Richard Serra’s vast desert sculpture in Qatar with graffiti

Government organisation Qatar Museums has launched campaign to encourage locals to respect public works

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Venice

Culture war erupts over Venice mayor's closure of Doge's Palace and other civic museums until April

Luigi Brugnaro's "entrepreneurial" decision violates Venice's historic agreement with Italian state to keep the landmark open to the public

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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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Art market

French High Court orders retrial of Wildenstein art dynasty tax fraud case

Guy Wildenstein and his nephew were accused of hiding assets worth hundreds of millions but were acquitted in 2017 and 2018—now they are wanted back in court for a third trial

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Art market

Lawsuit claims $100m damages in tangled case of hidden Russian art worth $60m

Shchukin Gallery and its lawyers file new lawsuit against Russian financier Rustam Iseev, his lawyer and a New York Supreme Court judge in bid to uncover location of paintings

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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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Art market

In a swift post-Brexit move, UK rejects EU’s strict import rules on cultural property

The rules, aimed at preventing trafficking, have been opposed by the trade and UK government's decision not to continue may put EU art market at a disadvantage

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Education

Oxford University’s All Souls College drops Christopher Codrington’s name from its library—but refuses to remove slave owner’s statue

Decision comes as scrutiny mounts over the university’s colonial legacy, including at Oriel College where a commission on Cecil Rhodes monument has been delayed

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India

India's Supreme Court approves Modi's £2bn 'vanity project' to redevelop Delhi parliament complex

The reconstruction of the Central Vista is a significant step in the prime minister's efforts to sever the nation from its colonial past

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Restitution

Dresden poster campaign draws attention to looted Benin bronzes in city’s museum

Initiative by the Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh is supported by Dresden’s state museums

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Artist foundation

Paying it forward: McArthur Binion is using his later-in-life success to help younger artists

The artist’s foundation is supporting the community in Detroit through micro-grants and residencies

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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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Art market

In the battle against antiquities trafficking, Germany develops app to identify looted cultural heritage

Government-funded image-recognition software will enable law enforcers to work with international organisations

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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

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Public sculpture

Enormous vulva sculpture in Brazil sparks conservative outrage

Juliana Notari's work was installed days after President Bolsonaro vowed to never legalise abortion

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Museums & Heritage

Australian museum boom: as most institutions face cuts, National Gallery of Victoria’s massive expansion flies in the face of coronavirus

New NGV Contemporary building is the latest ambitious construction project planned in the country

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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

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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

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Openings

Art in 2021—treats include Dürer blockbuster, new Munch museum and Caravaggio anniversary

Influential works by Duchamp, Picasso and Mondrian also celebrate centenary this year

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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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Museums

Building a picture of the pandemic: Smithsonian curators capture Covid-19 in real time

Museum curators chart the human angle of the crisis, but collecting material on recent events comes with ethical considerations

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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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Art market

‘The well is drying up’—rare Rembrandt biblical work could fetch $30m at Sotheby's next month

‘Abraham and the Angels’ is one of only two Old Testament paintings to remain in private hands

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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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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