Apollo Magazine

The week in art news – UNESCO calls for greater protections for artists

Plus: boycott at Kiasma in Helsinki comes to an end, and the rest of the week’s top stories

Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday (4 May), UNESCO published a report calling on nation states to provide greater protections to artists and culture workers in emergency situations. UNESCO is also investing $1m to finance projects supporting artists in more than 25 countries. The report, which draws on UNESCO efforts to protect artists during conflicts in Iraq, Ukraine and Yemen as case studies, recommends that the international community combine to monitor artistic freedom in emergency contexts, protect works of art and cultural spaces at risk and improve legal protections for artists.

A five-month boycott by more than 200 artists and culture workers of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki ended last week (27 April), after the Finnish National Gallery (of which Kiasma is a part) agreed to cut its ties to the Kiasma Support Foundation, with which Chaim ‘Poju’ Zabludowicz is closely involved. In an open letter published last December organisers of the boycott cited their concerns about the Finnish-billionaire’s funding of the British Israel Communication and Research Centre, a pro-Israel lobbying group. Kiasma director Leevi Haapala has now resigned from the foundation’s board. In the new guidelines for ethical fundraising the Finnish National Gallery commits to not collaborating ‘with organisations or other bodies whose operations promote the oppression of minorities or human rights violations, authoritarian governance, gender inequality or criminal activities’.

Maike Cruse is to become the director of Art Basel’s flagship fair in Basel – a new position, reporting to the group’s director of fairs and exhibition platforms, Vincenzo de Bellis. Cruse, currently director of Gallery Weekend Berlin, was approached by de Bellis and CEO Noah Horowitz after Marc Spiegler left last October.

Four organisations have committed $11m to an initiative that aims to diversify leadership positions at art museums across the United States. The Leadership in Art Museums programme – created by the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the Ford Foudnation, the Mellon Foundation and Pilot House Philanthropy – covers 19 museums, including MASS MoCA, the ICA Boston and MoCA Chicago.

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