News and comment we’ve spotted online this week
Archaeologist beheaded by Isis in Palmyra
Khaled al-Asaad, the 81 year old former head of antiquities at Palmyra, was executed this week after being held for a month by the militants who hoped he would lead them to valuable artefacts. He is the second renowned antiquities scholar to be killed in Syria recently, after Qasem Abdullah Yehiya died in a mortar attack in Damascus last week.
New directors announced for Italy’s 20 top museums
Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini has selected new directors to lead 20 of the country’s most important museums and heritage sites. Each of the institutions has also been granted financial autonomy as part of a sweeping set of reforms to the country’s cultural sector. Apollo editor Thomas Marks takes a look at the winners and losers in the ‘super director’ competition.
Renowned collector and patron Melva Bucksbaum dies aged 82
As a child, Bucksbaum dreamed of becoming an artist, but ultimately turned to collecting and philanthropy instead. She sat on several museum boards in the USA and in 2000 she set up the Bucksbaum Award with her family – a biennial prize that grants the winner $100,000 and the chance to exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Christian activists damage art in Moscow exhibition
A group of ultra conservative Christians vandalised several artworks at the Manezh exhibition hall in Moscow last Friday, claiming that the pieces offended their Christian sensibilities. Among the damaged works were Vadim Sidur’s engraving of a naked Christ, and a sculpture by Megasoma Mars’ depicting a series of John the Baptist heads.
Daniel Buren threatens to sue the city of Lyon
The French conceptual artist told Le Progrès that he was considering bringing a lawsuit against the town, which he believes has failed to maintain a public artwork he installed there in 1994. ‘In Tokyo, where I also did an installation, the space is just as I left it 25 years ago,’ he claimed. ‘It’s a question of culture and maintenance.’
Overspending on Dundee V&A building was inevitable, report finds
John McClelland’s investigation into the spiralling cost of Kengo Kuma’s design for a V&A museum outpost in Dundee suggests that it was bound to go over budget from the start. A ‘mismatch’ between the elite level of the architectural competition and the modest available budget was compounded by the fact that the judging panel selected the winning design without seeing full costings for any of the proposals.