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Art Outlook: 10 April

10 April 2015

Some of the stories and discussions we’ve spotted online this week

How Neil MacGregor saved the British Museum

The hunt is on for a new director of the British Museum, after Neil MacGregor announced that he would retire at the end of the year. He’s been widely credited with transforming the museum’s fortunes since taking up the position in 2002: as Tiffany Jenkins put it on the day of the announcement; ‘He deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest museum directors in history.’

Matthew Teitelbaum joins the MFA Boston

Meanwhile, the MFA Boston has named Matthew Teitelbaum as its new director, taking over from Malcolm Rogers who will be stepping down this summer after two decades in the role. Toronto-born Teitelbaum is no stranger to Boston, having spent some time as a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Walker Art Center plans major campus redevelopment

Plans are afoot to substantially rethink the green space surrounding the Walker Art Center. The museum is raising $75 million to fund a campus renovation project, which will include extensive landscaping, the construction of a new entry pavilion, and the replacement of the original building’s brick facade. Work is due to begin in September, in tandem with the reconstruction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden next door.

Should there be a time limit on restitution claims?

The director of the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Klaus Albrecht Schröder, has suggested ‘a time limit of around 100 years after the end of the Second World War’ for restitution claims pertaining to Nazi-looted art in public collections – sparking fresh debate about the international community’s handling of the issue.

Los Angeles judge allows Cranach restitution claim to go ahead

As Schröder was questioning whether there should be a time limit, California’s Norton Simon Museum was given a categorical answer by Los Angeles federal judge John Walter. He refused the museum’s motion to dismiss Marei von Saher’s restitution claim regarding two Cranach paintings in the collection, which were confiscated from her ancestor – the Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker – by the Nazis in 1940. The museum had challenged the suit on the grounds that it was made too late.

Cover-up? Edward Snowden statue appears in a New York park

A portrait bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared unannounced in a New York park recently, only to be swiftly and unceremoniously covered up again in a blue tarpaulin by park rangers. ‘ All too often, figures who strive to uphold…ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze’, explained the artists responsible for the intervention in an anonymous statement. The authorities didn’t seem to agree: the statue was removed on Monday.