The rest of the past month at a glance, January 2016


Venice Biennale draws half a million visitors

24 November

The extended run of last year’s Venice Biennale brought in 25,000 visitors more than the previous edition. More than 500,000 people saw director Okwui Enwezor’s exhibition between 9 May and 22 November 2015. The previous biennial, in 2013, was three weeks shorter.

Philippines on the hunt for Imelda Marcos’s art

27 November

The Philippine government hopes a crowdsourcing website will help it track down around 200 works of art thought to have belonged to Imelda Marcos, the controversial former first lady and current congresswoman. Marcos insists that the works, said to include masterpieces by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, were gifts and were not acquired with misappropriated state funds.

Danh Vo and collector settle two-year dispute

1 December

A legal battle between the Dutch collector Bert Kreuk, the artist Danh Vo and the Berlin dealer Isabella Bortolozzi has been resolved with an undisclosed agreement after a two-year dispute. It began when Vo decided against producing a new work for the collector’s show at The Hague’s Gemeentemuseum.

Rain Room finds permanent desert home

2 December

An edition of the Rain Room by the design collective Random International is to go on permanent display in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. A building with 3,300 sq. ft of floor space for the installation is under construction and expected to open in autumn 2017. “Rain Room provokes a sense of surprise and wonder in audiences, and that reaction will perhaps be stronger in Sharjah… as the UAE has a predominantly desert landscape,” says Hoor Al Qasimi, the president of the Sharjah Art Foundation, which acquired the piece.

Knoedler Gallery settles lawsuit in forgery case

2 December

The defunct Knoedler Gallery in New York settled its fifth lawsuit stemming from the $60m forgery scandal that broke in 2011. The art collector John Howard sued the gallery in 2012 over a fake work, supposedly by the artist Willem de Kooning, that he had bought in 2007 for $4m. Five more lawsuits against the gallery are still pending.

University in talks to return looted Pissarro

4 December

The University of Oklahoma is negotiating the return of a work by Camille Pissarro that originally belonged to a Jewish family and was seized by the Nazis. The painting, Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep (1886), was bequeathed to the university in 2000.

Don’t let curtain fall on Lyon textile museum

7 December

The Musée des Tissus (Textile Museum) in Lyon, France, which opened to the public in 1864 and has 2,000 years of textiles in its collection, is facing possible closure after national budget cuts. A petition to save the museum was launched on 7 December and had around 22,000 signatures as we went to press.

Palestinian Museum head resigns abruptly

9 December

Jack Persekian resigned from his position as the director of the Palestinian Museum over alleged planning and management conflicts. Persekian, who is the founding director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, was appointed director of the non-profit museum in 2012; he declined to comment on his resignation. The search for a new director is under way preceding the museum’s inauguration this year in Birzeit, north of Jerusalem.