Ai Weiwei dropped from Yinchuan Biennale in China

Plus: Five Lancashire museums to be mothballed while negotiations to keep them running continue | UK government agrees to extend financial guarantee for ‘Garden Bridge’ | and Prince’s Paisley Park house to open as museum

26 August 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Ai Weiwei dropped from Yinchuan Biennale | The organisers of the Yinchuan Biennale have dropped Ai Weiwei from the list of participating artists just two weeks before it opens, reports The Art Newspaper. According to the artist, he received a letter from the director of Yinchuan MoCA, the recently opened institution that hosts the event, informing him that he had been removed due to a decision of ‘higher officials’. Though the exhibition ban on Ai’s work in China ended last year,‘it still comes as a surprise to me for an “international art biennale” […] to remove a single artist for the reason of defending human rights and freedom of speech,’ Ai wrote on his Instagram.

Five Lancashire museums to close as negotiations continue | Five museums in Lancashire are to be ‘mothballed’ next month as while attempts to keep them running in the longer term continue, reports the Lancashire Evening Post. The Museum of Lancashire in Preston, the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, Fleetwood Museum, Queen Street Mill Textile Museum in Burnley, and the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale will all close their doors at the end of September. Lancashire County Council, which currently runs the institutions, is exploring a ‘transfer’ option where other organisations would take over responsibility for running the museums. ‘In an ideal world we would not have been forced into this position,’ said county councillor Marcus Johnstone. ‘But as we no longer have the funding to keep these cultural resources open we can at least do a thorough job to ensure that they have a sustainable future.’

UK government agrees to extend financial guarantee for ‘Garden Bridge’ | The Transport secretary Chris Grayling has agreed to extend the government’s financial guarantee for Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed ‘Garden Bridge’. He has capped the amount, warning that the project will not be granted further public financial support. According to the Architects’ Journal, Grayling extended funding up to a limit of £9 million to cover cancellation liabilities; the Garden Bridge Trust has originally requested £15million for this purpose. ‘The Garden Bridge Trustees have agreed to explore any further underwriting required and are currently working with new private sector sources to build on the current support’, said a spokesman for the Trust.

Prince’s Paisley Park compound to open as museum | Paisley Park, the vast Minneapolis complex built and inhabited by Prince, is to open as a museum in October, according to the Bremmer Trust, which handles the musician’s estate. A statement released by the trust revealed that the museum will display ‘thousands of artifacts from Prince’s personal archives, including iconic concert wardrobe, awards, musical instruments, artwork, rare music and video recordings, concert memorabilia, automobiles and motorcycles’. Admission, as Prince sang in ‘Paisley Park, is easy: tickets are available from today.