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Academics and curators urge caution in Notre-Dame repairs

Plus: American art museum condemns use of painting by AfD | Asia Society announces new triennial | Berlin museum returns remains to New Zealand | and recommended reading

30 April 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Academics and curators urge caution in Notre-Dame repairs | In response to Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral by 2024, some 1,169 architects, academics and curators have signed an open letter cautioning against hasty repairs. The letter, published in Le Figaro (£), argues that conservators have not yet fully assessed the damage from a devastating fire earlier this month. ‘We know that the political calendar requires quick action, we know how much a mutilated Notre-Dame weighs on the image of France,’ they write. ‘Nevertheless, what will happen at Notre-Dame in the years to come concerns us all, far beyond that calendar.’

American art museum condemns use of painting by AfD | The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts has voiced strong opposition to the use of a painting in its collection – Jean-Leon Germone’s 1866 Slave Market – on a racist anti-Muslim poster created by the German right-wing group Alternative für Deutschland. Although the image is in the public domain, the museum’s director says it has written to the AfD ‘insisting that they cease and desist in using this painting’. A spokesperson for the party in Berlin described the request as ‘a futile attempt to gag the AfD’.

Asia Society announces new triennial | Arts non-profit Asia Society will hold its inaugural triennial next year in New York. Titled ‘We Do Not Dream Alone’, the exhibition will include some 40 artists and will be curated by Asia Society Museum director Boon Hui Tan and Michelle Yun, the organisation’s senior curator of modern and contemporary art.

Berlin museum returns remains to New Zealand | In a ceremony on Monday in Berlin, the skulls of 109 Maori and Moriori people, which had been kept at the Berlin Museum of Medical History, were returned to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarew. The skulls were taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the Te Papa museum will now assume guardianship of the remains until they can be returned to their community of origin.

Recommended reading | In the Guardian, Laura Cumming pans ‘Sixty Years’ at the Tate, a collections show of thirty female artist from the past sixty years, for its slipshod curation. The New York Review of Books has an essay by Colm Tóibín on Tintoretto, ‘a painter with an unsettled, fluid imagination, impossible to pin down’.

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