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Art Outlook

27 August 2015

News and comment we’ve spotted online this week

Islamic State destroys the Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra

Islamic State militants have blown up the 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. There are conflicting reports as to when exactly the destruction took place, with Unesco saying that it happened last Sunday, and other Syrian monitoring organisations claiming that it could have been as long as a month ago. Islamic State has released pictures which allegedly show the mining of the site and its subsequent detonation. Irina Bokova, the director-general of Unesco, has called the act ‘a war crime’. The news comes a week after the murder of Khaled al-Asaad, the former chief of antiquities in the city.

Singapore court unfreezes Yves Bouvier’s assets

The Singapore court of appeal has overturned the worldwide injunction, in place since March, that has prevented the Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier (a resident of Singapore), from disposing of any of his personal assets (thought to be up to $500 million). Family trusts owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian billionaire, have accused Bouvier of overcharging Rybolovlev for artworks and being involved in moneylaundering.

Argentina to return 4,000 ancient artefacts to Ecuador and Peru

The President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, has announced that Argentina will be returning 4,000 archaeological objects to Ecuador and Peru. At a ceremony at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, at which the Ecuadorian and Peruvian ambassadors were present, Kirshner described the artefacts as ‘stolen’ although she gave no indication of what objects she was referring to or how they were obtained.