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UNESCO to put Venice on endangered heritage list

4 August 2023

On Monday (31 July) UNESCO proposed adding Venice and its lagoon to the World Heritage in Danger list. The organisation acknowledges the city’s efforts to protect its ecosystem through measures such as the banning of cruise ships from the lagoon, but says that not enough progress has been made to prevent the risk of ‘irreversible’ damage caused by climate change, mass tourism and development projects. UNESCO’s recommendation is not yet final: it will go to the vote when the World Heritage Committee, made up of 21 member states (including Italy), meets in Riyadh on 10–25 September.

The Greek government announced on Wednesday (2 August) that the number of visitors to the Acropolis in Athens will be capped at 20,000 per day, with hourly entry limits. The Associated Press, reports that Greece’s minister for culture Lina Mendoni has said that such controls are necessary to prevent overcrowding and to protect the country’s most-visited archaeological site. The entry limits will be implemented on a trial basis from 4 September, with plans to put them into permanent effect from April 2024.

Lighthouse Immersive Inc., the Toronto-based company best-known for its popular touring exhibition ‘Immersive Van Gogh’, has filed for bankruptcy. The company has also designed shows projecting art by Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo, and established permanent locations for digital light shows across the United States. The filing, which was submitted in Delaware on 28 July, protects the company’s US assets during insolvency proceedings in Ontario.

A former employee at the Fondation Beyeler near Basel is on trial for embezzling nearly 1m Swiss francs ($1.2m) from the institution over 11 years. The unnamed woman, who had worked on the front desk at the institution for over a decade, is alleged to have diverted cash from ticket sales. According to Spiegel, her colleagues first became suspicious in 2019. They claim that tickets she had sold would later appear as falsely cancelled on the box-office system and that she would also sell the same ticket twice. Prosecutors later found that large sums of money had been deposited into her account, and found significant spending on clothes, travel and cars.

Will Gompertz, currently artistic director at the Barbican Centre in London, has been appointed director of Sir John Soane’s Museum. Gompertz, who joined the Barbican in 2021, was the BBC’s arts editor for 11 years and before that, director of Tate Media. He will take up his new role on 1 January 2024, succeeding Bruce Boucher who has been in charge of the museum for nearly eight years.