News

The rest of the summer’s stories at a glance

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Complete Roman fresco found in pieces in France

10 July

Archaeologists in Arles discovered a complete fresco in an ancient Roman villa, one of the only full murals from the period to be found outside Italy. The work, which was discovered in 12,000 fragments, includes a depiction of a girl playing a harp. It was created between AD20 and AD70 and archaeologists say it could take up to ten years to piece it all back together. The researchers compared the fresco to ones found in Villa Boscoreale outside Pompeii.

Leading US art magazines join forces

29 July

ARTnews and Art in America, two of the largest art magazines in the US, are merging. Artnews SA, which owns ARTnews and the online art market research outlet Skate’s, has acquired Brant Publications’ art publishing portfolio, which includes Art in America, the Magazine Antiques and Modern Magazine. Brant Publications, owned by the collector Peter Brant, is now the majority shareholder of Artnews SA.

Top US museum staff are overwhelmingly white

29 July

A survey by the Mellon Foundation found that 84% of curatorial, education, conservation and top administrative staff members at US museums are white. While women were well represented, holding 70% of those jobs, the study found that minorities usually worked in the security, facilities, finance and human resources departments. 

Picasso portrait seized by French customs

31 July

A painting by Picasso, Head of a Young Woman (1906), was seized by French officials from a yacht near Calvi in Corsica, which is a French territory. In May, a Spanish judge had ruled that the painting, which was purchased by the Spanish banker Jaime Botín in the 1970s, is a national treasure and banned it from leaving the country. Botín’s lawyers plan to appeal the court decision.

Slovakian court order filed over Getty’s Bernini

3 August

Slovakia’s culture minister has filed an order against an unnamed individual for helping to sell Bernini’s 1621 bust of Pope Paul V to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Getty bought the work privately through Sotheby’s, London for an undisclosed sum. The sculpture, now valued at $33m, had been kept in the Bratislava home of an artist whose heirs sold it after his death. 

Judge orders billionaire to pay sculptor for fakes

7 August

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that the billionaire property developer Igor Olenicoff must pay the sculptor John Raimondi $640,000 for having four of the artist’s works copied in China and then displaying the copies at locations owned by his Olen Properties. Curiously, the judge also ordered that the fakes should not be destroyed, and that Raimondi’s name should be added to them on a plaque. “They’re not technically as perfect as my studio would have done; it doesn’t have the nuance of the line,” Raimondi says. “They’re definitely not mine.”

Thomas Krens plans ‘fly-by’ Massachusetts gallery

11 August

Thomas Krens, a former director of the Guggenheim Foundation, announced a proposal for a 160,000 sq. ft art gallery at a small airport in rural Massachusetts. The private museum, with storage space for collectors, could cost between $10m and $15m and would feature work by more than 60 international artists. “The basic concept is to work with a group of essentially investors to put together a world-class collection of contemporary art,” Krens told the Berkshire Eagle newspaper.

Hong Kong opening back on for delayed Gormley

11 August 

Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon sculptures of male standing figures at the edges of buildings, are due to be installed in Hong Kong this November. The show was delayed a year ago after an employee at JP Morgan jumped to his death from one of the buildings owned by Hongkong Land, Event Horizon’s then sponsor. The works have already been shown in London, New York, Rotterdam and São Paulo. 

Anish Kapoor threatens to sue Chinese town

13 August

The British sculptor Anish Kapoor is threatening legal action against the Chinese town of Kamay, where a public sculpture resembling his Cloud Gate (2006) has been installed. Kapoor called the work a “blatant plagiarism” of his original, which is installed in Millennium Park in Chicago. He has publicly called on Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, for support.

Islamic fanatics behead archaeologist in Palmyra

18 August

Isil militants murdered the Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad in Palmyra. The 81-year-old former director of Palmyra’s antiquities was killed at the World Heritage Site. Al-Asaad was seized shortly after Isil captured the ancient Roman city in May. According to Syria’s state antiquities chief, Maamoun Abdulkarim, Isil attempted to get Al-Asaad to reveal where some of the city’s artefacts had been hidden before the invasion.