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Art Outlook: 19 March

19 March 2015

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

Terror at the Bardo Museum

Twenty-three people are reported to have died in a shooting at Tunisia’s Bardo Museum on Wednesday. According to eyewitness accounts, two gunmen opened fire on visitors as they disembarked tour buses outside, before entering the building. The gunmen were killed at the scene by security forces, and nine others who are believed to have links to the attack have since been arrested.

Gabriele Finaldi is the National Gallery’s next director

The National Gallery has confirmed that Gabriele Finaldi will take over from Nicholas Penny as its next director. Finaldi is currently the deputy director of the Prado in Madrid, but his new appointment will be a homecoming of sorts: he was born in London and studied at the Courtauld Insitute of Art, before a decade-long stint as curator of 17th- and 18th-century Italian and Spanish paintings at the National Gallery itself.

Syria recovers looted antiquities

Around 120 antiquities stolen from the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria have been recovered, according to a statement by the country’s director of museum affairs. The majority of the works had been removed from tombs on the site, which like many other heritage areas in the country has been heavily pillaged in recent years.

US museums back campaign to save Michael Heizer’s desert City

A petition calling for the protection of Nevada’s Basin and Range region has won the influential support of many of the US’s top museums, including LACMA, MoMA and the Walker Art Centre. The area encompasses several significant archaeological sites, as well as contemporary artist Michael Heizer’s enormous piece of land art, City, but has been threatened in the past by prospective developments.

Crystal Bridges Museum’s $44 million acquisition

Last November, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/Flower No. 1 became the most expensive work by a female artist ever sold at auction, fetching $44.4 million (see Wall Flowers – women in historical art collections). It turns out to have gone to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which announced the acquisition, along an upcoming exhibition of O’Keeffe’s work, earlier this week.

Tad Smith named new Sotheby’s CEO

Four months after William Ruprecht announced his intention to step down, Sotheby’s has found a new CEO. Tad Smith – formerly the president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company – will start at the end of this month. He won’t, however, succeed Ruprecht as chairman: that role has been appointed separately to Domenico De Sole.

Related Articles

Red Alert: protecting Syria’s heritage (France Desmarais)

Inquiry: Wall Flowers – women in historical art collections (Lily Le Brun)

Inquiry: Monuments Men – protecting cultural property in war zones (Peter Stone)

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