News

News
Deaccessioning

As a Sotheby’s auction looms, scholars protest Newark Museum of Art’s plan to sell a Thomas Cole painting and other works

In an open letter, they denounce the deaccessioning move as a “senseless monetisation” of art from the permanent collection

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Art market

Unable to run in its usual format, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair moves into Christie’s for bijou showcase

Knotted Ties exhibition features textile works by female artists from Africa and the diaspora

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Germany

It's official—Germany declares its nightclubs are now cultural institutions

Nightlife and live music venues across the country now have the same legal status as museums and opera houses

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NFTs

Contract Killers: artist Nancy Baker Cahill challenges the efficacy of the 'smart contracts' behind NFTs with an augmented reality project

The environmentally conscious project considers broken and violated social contracts in the artists space and in society as a whole

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Prizes

For first time Turner Prize 2021 shortlist is made up entirely of artist collectives

From a Welsh community group to a neurodiverse arts hub in Hastings, the collectives' works will go on show in Coventry in September

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Art market

Charles I disposed of this Van Dyck portrait when he signed the sitter's death warrant. Now it is up for sale at Christie's

The 17th century painting of the Earl of Strafford, recently discovered to have been in the Royal collection, is expected to sell for up to £5m in London in July

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Heritage

Catherine de Medici portrait returns to Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill after almost 200 years

Painting is the only surviving contemporary image of the monarch

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Art market

'It is like spring in the art world': A more civilised, 'humane' Frieze New York bodes well for the market

Exhibitors praised Frieze for seamlessness of install and timed entry gave galleries and guests more time than usual for art chat, making deals and catching up

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Museums

Crowds flock to revamped Uffizi Galleries

Florence museum unveiled new exhibition space and recent acquisitions

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Building projects

'Intelligent design': Frank Gehry's surprisingly subtle $233m makeover of Philadelphia Museum of Art revealed

Architect's Core Project expansion creates 90,000 sq. ft of new galleries and reimagined public spaces at heart of 1928 landmark

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Art market

Artists are expected to give away their work for charity. This new auction platform aims to give them something back in return

The Stand has been launched by former Sotheby's boss and will give 70% to artists, 20% to charity

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Obituaries

Patrick O’Connell, Visual Aids founder, has died, aged 67

The activist helped develop perhaps the most well known symbol of HIV and Aids awareness: the red ribbon

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Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers unveils monolithic sculpture at Rockefeller Plaza

The work is part of a campus-wide exhibition exploring themes around European and African mythologies

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Art education

Uproar as UK government plans to cut funding for arts education by 50% to prioritise 'high-value subjects'

Artists express concerns and the Public Campaign for the Arts launches a petition as the consultation on the planned budget cuts to higher education ends today

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Art market

Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing—what will happen to their art?

As the multi-billionaire couple announce they are ending their marriage, we look at some of the art world's bitterest splits

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Foundations

MoMA trustee Lonti Ebers to open huge arts centre in Brooklyn this summer

The Amant Foundation in East Williamsburg will combine exhibition and studio spaces for resident artists

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Cuba

Cuban dissident artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara taken to hospital by security forces eight days into a hunger strike

Otero Alcántara’s hunger strike and calls for free speech and artistic freedom in Cuba has drawn international attention

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Art market

If you can't beat them, join them: Goodman Gallery jumps on the Hamptons bandwagon with new outpost

Denis Gardarin has joined as US director and will oversee the South Africa- and London-based gallery's presence at Frieze New York this week as travel restrictions persist

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Art market

Crypto-creep accelerates as Sotheby's accepts Ether and Bitcoin for $5m Banksy painting

The sale this month will be the first time the auction house has accepted cryptocurrency as payment for a physical work of art

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Philanthropy

Josef and Anni Albers Foundation to unveil new maternity and paediatric hospital in Senegal

German architect has designed the €2m building which takes elements from the Bauhaus couple’s work

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Russia

Russian artist Yulia Tsvetkova, who faces prison for posting feminist drawings, starts hunger strike

The 27-year-old activist is demanding that her criminal trial be held in public

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Museums & Heritage

UK culture war heats up as arts professionals question veto of trustee appointment at Royal Museums Greenwich

Museums Association says government refusal to renew academic Aminul Hoque’s term is “worrying”, and the chair of trustees has resigned over the decision

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Exhibitions

Met's next Costume Institute show is an exploration of the emotional hues of American fashion

The two-part exhibition invokes the upheaval of the past year and will be accompanied by an "intimate" gala this September and then a more expansive benefit next May

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Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper plans a protest in Berlin over school class sizes

The 15 May demonstration is part of her ongoing Wahlkampagne criticizing Germany’s education system

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Antiquities & Archaeology

Yacht rock art: prehistoric carvings found in Norway may be oldest nautical images in the world

Two life-size outlines of boats are thought to have been etched into the grey rock face 10,000 years ago—and more could still await discovery

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Monuments

Four artists shortlisted for Windrush monument at London’s Waterloo Station

Thomas Price and Jeannette Ehlers are in the running for public art piece honouring Caribbean pioneers

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Obituaries

Eli Broad, who helped reshape the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, has died, aged 87

Billionaire art collector, businessman and philanthropist founded the museum that bears his name and helped shore up Disney Concert Hall, Lacma and MOCA

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Obituaries

William T. Wiley, a founder of the Bay Area Funk Art movement and influential art teacher, has died, aged 83

A dedicated mentor, he also delighted in provocative enigmas in wide-ranging mediums

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Public art

‘Some Like It Not’: protesters rally against plan to install Marilyn Monroe sculpture near Palm Springs Art Museum

Dozens gather to denounce sexualised depiction of actress with her skirt flying up

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Archaeology

A Bronze Age village is discovered beneath Lake Lucerne

Archaeologists find remains of houses on stilts, possibly dating to 1000BC, which indicates Lucerne was settled earlier than thought

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Biennials & festivals

After social media backlash, Dark Mofo art festival in Tasmania launches fund for Aboriginal artists

The festival drew criticism last month for an art project that would crowd-source blood from Indigenous and Aboriginal people

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Museums

Pinault's Bourse de Commerce plans to finally launch on 22 May as Macron gives French museums the green light to reopen

Health passes to certify visitors are Covid-free will be mandatory at cultural venues

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Ugo Rondinone

Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada desert will undergo a second restoration

The immersive artwork, installed in 2016, could be up for another five years

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AlUla

'A global destination for heritage, culture and nature': Saudi Arabia unveils $15bn AlUla masterplan

Kingdoms Institute, a new "world class" study centre, is among 15 cultural facilities that will form part of the heritage-rich region's transformation

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Restitution

Germany pledges to return Benin bronzes to Nigeria starting in 2022

“We are facing up to our historical and moral responsibility”, says culture minister Monika Grütters

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Museums

Indian museum brings artist M F Husain back from the dead using AI

Visitors to the Museum of Art and Photography in Bangalore can pose questions to a "digital twin" of the late Bombay Progressive Group painter

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Art market

Taxidermy flying kittens, Irish giants and Queen Victoria's knickers: the world of Viktor Wynd

The artist, writer and dealer is selling a selection of bizarre pieces from his London-based Museum of Curiosities on 6 May

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Archaeology

Mysterious stone structures in Saudi Arabia are around 7,000 years old, making them one of the oldest examples of widespread monument-making

Citing the discovery of animal skulls and horns, researchers suggest that mustatils may have had a religious purpose

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Litigation

Stand and deliver: the $950m ‘art hostage situation’ involving paintings by Malevich and Goncharova

In a long-running legal battle, the Shchukin Gallery seeks the return of five paintings worth $63m that the gallery says were taken by a Russian financier

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Vandalism

Another ancient petroglyph panel has been vandalised in Utah

The Bureau of Land Management is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible

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Black Lives Matter

In Minneapolis, plywood boards become protest art worth preserving

Many of the boards used to cover shopfront windows during protests became impromptu canvases—as much works of art as vital historical artefacts

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Public art

David Hammons's monumental public sculpture Day's End is done

The steel frame structure, which recreates the outline of a former warehouse on the Hudson River, is now a permanent fixture on the shoreline

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Collectors

Korean museums to receive 23,000 works from Samsung estate in $11bn tax settlement

Lee Kun-hee, the Samsung Electronics chairman who died in October, leaves collection worth $2.2bn, including works by Monet, Dali and Chagall

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Restitution

Scottish university claims Benin bronze bought for £750 is worth £500,000—but is that now really the case?

Aberdeen University is returning its looted 18th-century oba head to the Nigerian federal government

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Benin Bronzes

Global survey: where in the world are the Benin bronzes?

Around 160 institutions hold looted Benin artefacts, but how many are prepared to give them back? We asked museums in five countries for their position on restitution

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Manifesta 12

Three years on, Manifesta 12 workers are still waiting to be paid

Dozens of staff and freelancers who worked at the 2018 exhibition in Palermo have been left in the lurch

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Art education

Christie’s supports charity delivering art history lessons for students at UK state schools

Art History Link-Up chief says subject is a rare offer at state schools because of cuts and teacher shortages

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Restitution

'We've had a lot of museums reaching out': how Nigeria is getting ready to receive the world’s Benin bronzes

With institutions across the globe rethinking their views on restitution, the African country’s focus is now on making a home for its heritage

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Art market

White Cube announces exclusive worldwide representation of Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi

British gallery will work in collaboration with the Noguchi Museum in New York

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Art market

Phillips names Stephen Brooks, a former Christie's financial officer, as new chief executive

The current chief, Edward Dolman, will shift in September to a new role as executive chairman of Phillips’ holding company

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Art market

'I was brought here to get the company sold privately and that is done': Amy Cappellazzo to leave Sotheby's in July

Brooke Lampley and Mari-Claudia Jiménez will step up into new roles in the global fine art division, while Gregoire Billault is the new chairman of contemporary art

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National Gallery, London

TikTok and masterpieces on tour: London's National Gallery reveals plans leading up to 200th birthday in 2024

Five-year strategy pledges to ramp up digital content and send historic paintings on UK "community tours" to mark bicentenary

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Protest art

Trump protest work recovered by FBI four years after being stolen by white supremacists

He Will Not Divide Us was subjected to multiple attacks from far-right extremists before being snatched in a raid in Tennessee in 2017

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Art theft

Rare medieval reliquary—stolen near Siena 32 years ago—discovered at collector's home in Sicily

Carabinieri's recovery of the San Galgano collection of “unprecedented importance”

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Paris

French historians up in arms over plans to install Napoleon horse skeleton above his tomb

Pascal Convert's sculpture is a replica of the remains of the emperor’s horse Marengo, which was captured by the British at the Battle of Waterloo

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Art market

Basquiat NFT withdrawn from auction after artist’s estate intervenes

“No licence or rights were convened to the seller,” estate says

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India

As India's death toll surges, £2bn renovation of Delhi parliament buildings continues as 'essential service'

Many are questioning how Prime Minister Narendra Modi can justify his "vanity project" as hospitals are overwhelmed with patients

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Heritage

Acropolis renovation plans spark accusations that it’s ‘just another way to fit in more tourists’

Archaeologists fear the structural changes aimed to improve access to the Unesco site will “dramatically” change its form

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Victoria & Albert Museum

V&A restores casts of warriors that adorned ancient Iranian palace for once-in-a-lifetime display

New exhibition on 5,000 years of Iranian civilisation will feature museum's rarely seen replicas of life-sized friezes from King Darius’s “very excellent” palace

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Appointments & departures

Philanthropist Marie-Josée Kravis will replace the embattled Leon Black as MoMA’s board chairman

Appointment follows controversy over Black's ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein

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Cuba

Cuban artists and intellectuals commemorate the 50th anniversary of poet Herberto Padilla's confession

The public confession, which came after 36 days of imprisonment, marked a pivotal moment in Cuba's oppression of voices critical of the government.

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Rock art

Boat carvings found in Norway may be the oldest in Europe

Life-size examples of rock art could have served as signposts when early Scandinavians populated the Mesolithic seascape

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Indigenous art

Lummi artists create a totem pole to call attention to the need to protect sacred Indigenous sites

The totem pole will travel from Washington State to Washington, DC and make stops at significant Native American locations

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Art market

Mexico City galleries come together for homegrown Zonamaco Art Week

Despite postponing the traditional art fair, organisers found a way to hold shows and create a sense of occasion

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Art market

Flight of the Balloon Dog: Jeff Koons leaves Gagosian and David Zwirner galleries for Pace

The gallery will now represent the shiniest and most expensive living artist worldwide

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NFTs

Basquiat drawing to be auctioned as an NFT—and winning bidder will be given the option to destroy the original

Drawing is being sold in an auction sponsored by the firm behind David Bowie’s online bank

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coronavirus

Pope cuts pay for clerics but not for Vatican Museum employees

After pandemic revenue crash, Vatican slashes its spending but protects all jobs

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Law

Tate Modern neighbours head to Supreme Court over 'relentless' invasion of privacy

Residents next to the London museum continue legal battle after losing case to close viewing platform that allows visitors to see inside their flats

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Artist estates

Maine attorney general says that Robert Indiana’s estate was overcharged by as much as $3.7m in legal fees

State office demands that the artist's executor, James W. Brannan, return that “excessive” amount to the estate

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Repatriation

Penn Museum apologises for allowing the use of human remains of Black Philadelphians in an online class

The statement follows a petition condemning the institution and calling for a public investigation

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Prizes

Curator Meg Onli wins inaugural prize aimed at advancing racial equity in the arts

The $75,000 Figure Skating Prize will be awarded annually to a Black artist, curator or scholar

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Obituaries

Hans Rasmus Astrup—the intensely private founder of Oslo’s Astrup Fearnley Museet—has died, aged 82

The Norwegian collector took an “early chance” on Damien Hirst and in 2001 bought Jeff Koons’s Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture for a then record $5.6m

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Art market

Colnaghi gallery to lead research into €1,500 painting now believed to be by Caravaggio

Established dealership will manage restoration and authentication of disputed work offered at auction for €1,500

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Activism

Art world: pay attention to anti-Asian abuse, activists urge

The alarming rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans is just part of a long history of discrimination in the US and elsewhere

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Covid-19

Museums weigh in on the vaccine passport debate, as countries are under pressure to open up their economies

As Israel and Denmark introduce Covid-19 status certificates, institutions are concerned that government schemes may keep visitors away

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Art market

Andy Warhol Foundation fights back in fair use case

Lawyers for the foundation claim a US Court of Appeals decision conflicts with precedent and threatens historically significant contemporary art work

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reopenings

Smithsonian will reopen eight museums and other venues in May after more than five-month closures

National of Gallery of Art also plans to open its West Building in Washington, DC

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Museums & Heritage

Nathalie Bondil, ousted head of Montreal museum, joins Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris

Her first task at the French institution will be to expand its international programming and partnerships

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Podcast

Winner: The Art Newspaper's podcast The Week in Art is named Best Special Interest Podcast

Judges of the Publisher Podcast Awards described the category as "one of the most competitive"

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Germany

German parliament’s “emergency brake” closes Kusama show, threatens Gallery Weekend

Measures to counter the third wave of the pandemic force museums in high-incidence areas to close

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Medieval art

'Hurrah, it’s leprosy!' How a conservator and a historian are decoding the grisly tales in Canterbury Cathedral’s stained-glass windows

New research for British Museum exhibition means panels depicting St Thomas Becket's healing miracles will be correctly reassembled after centuries in the wrong order

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Museums & Heritage

Museum extension allows Indigenous Sámi people to welcome home more than 2,000 artefacts held in Finland

An exhibition at the National Museum of Finland will celebrate the objects' repatriation to the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida in northern Lapland

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Exhibitions

Rembrandt’s work joins with art by Black and Indigenous artists at the National Gallery of Canada this spring

A major Old Master show will keep a contemporary perspective with new commissions and acquisitions

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Appointments

Peabody Essex Museum enlists its former deputy director to assume the top post

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan will head back as director after serving just a year at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto

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Climate Change

Launch of Artists Commit intensifies the push to act on climate change

Organisation aims to put pressure on galleries to adopt sustainable practices

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Public art

Creative Time launches Kickstarter campaign for Kamala Sankaram’s concrete opera about trees

The immersive soundscape will feature sounds from nature and address the climate crisis

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Restitution

Sotheby's to sell $2m Meissen porcelain collection restituted by Dutch government to heirs of Jewish industrialist

The collection of 18th-century porcelain was previously exhibited in Dutch museums

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Art market

Gettin' biddy wit it: Will Smith handprint painting to appear alongside works by Hockney and Picasso in Dubai auction

Charity sale is in aid of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's "100 Million Meals" campaign

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African art

Researchers discover trove of works by major African Modernists in rural Scotland

Paintings and drawings have been reattributed to some of the continent's most famous 20th-century names

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coronavirus

Some New York museums will ramp up to 50% visitor capacity next week under relaxed limits announced by governor

Others welcome the change while scrutinising their Covid-19 safety procedures

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Manuscripts

The write stuff: new analysis on Dead Sea Scrolls sheds light on the scribes behind them

Researchers have used artificial intelligence and other advanced methods to examine the ancient writing

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Venice Biennale

Christoph Büchel’s controversial migrant boat finally returns to Sicily after 2019 Venice Biennale display

The vessel was on loan from the town of Augusta, which intends to turn it into a memorial for the hundreds of migrants who died on board in 2015

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Exhibitions

Olafur Eliasson floods museum and removes wall, opening it 24-hours-a-day to ‘insects, bats or birds’

Site-specific installation called Life opened this week at the Fondation Beyeler near Basel in Switzerland

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Pablo Picasso

Why do some Picasso paintings deteriorate faster than others? Researchers have solved the mystery

A three-year research project looked at the materials in four works from the same period to explain their differing conditions

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George Floyd

‘Still much work to be done’: artists and US museums react to Derek Chauvin conviction in George Floyd murder trial

Former police officer faces up 40 years in prison, but systemic racism must now be addressed, says San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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Art market

Art shipping sector consolidates as Crozier buys Martinspeed

With much-reduced travel and events, the pandemic has been tough on the logistics business and will have lasting effect, Crozier chief says

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Cuba

Despite Raúl Castro's retirement, Cuban artists don't believe the country will change any time soon

"As long as the Communist Party is in power, Cuba will be a ‘dictatorship’," some believe as Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel takes over leadership

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Artists

The places you can’t go: Ellen Harvey recreates lost places

Her Disappointed Tourist project now includes more than 200 sites submitted by the public

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Resignations

Senior curator and human resources director resign from MOCA in Los Angeles

Curator cites management resistance to diversity effort, and personnel manager describes a “hostile environment”

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Science

Scientists unveil 'whitest paint ever'—and museums can't wait to get their hands on it

The material, which reflects 98% of light, will have significant use in cooling buildings and fighting climate change