This week’s art news and comment from around the web
Isis destroys ancient statue at Palmyra
Isis militants have destroyed the Lion of al-Lat in Palmyra – a unique limestone sculpture dating back to the 1st century, in one of the most significant acts of cultural vandalism in the town since it was seized in May.
British Museum ivory loans blocked by US Fish and Wildlife Service
Six historic ivories from the British Museum have been pulled from an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts. A spokesperson at the US museum said no ‘concrete reason’ was given for denying the imports, but speculated that it might be to do with the ‘whole issue with elephant poaching’.
Italian museum directors shortlists released
The Italian Culture Ministry has announced who is in the running for the top jobs in 20 of the country’s museums, as part of Dario Franceschini’s museum reforms. Ten people are being considered for each post, and the final selection is expected to be announced by the end of the month.
Art Fund Museum of the Year announced
The Whitworth Manchester has been awarded the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 following its grand reopening in February. Director Maria Balshaw accepted the award at a ceremony at Tate Modern on Wednesday evening.
French culture minister sacks Nicolas Bourriaud
Fleur Pellerin has dismissed the director of the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts because she had ‘another educational project in mind’ for the institution. After a meeting with the minister, Bourriaud posted the news on Facebook, claiming that he was offered ‘Not a single factual argument in the course of a forty-five-minute discussion’.
Delaware Art Museum sells two more paintings to finally pay off debts
Winslow Homer’s Milking Time and Andrew Wyeth’s Arthur Cleveland were sold privately as part of a controversial strategy to settle $19.8 million of debt. The museum came in for intense criticism last year when it deaccessioned William Holman Hunt’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil and a Calder mobile: ‘Today, we close one of the most difficult chapters in the story of the Delaware Art Museum’, said CEO Michael Miller in a statement.
Pope portrait made of condoms upsets Catholics in Milwaukee
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some Roman Catholic visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum have found Niki Johnson’s Eggs Benedict distasteful.
Why does Palmyra matter so much?
Forum: Is the US ivory ban counter-productive?
Are Italy’s museum reforms enough to stop the rot?
Milking It: Delaware Art Museum will sell two more works of art
‘She changed how we encounter sculpture’ – remembering Phyllida Barlow (1944–2023)