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Art UK launches in London

24 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Art UK Launches | This morning saw the launch of Art UK (previously the Public Catalogue Foundation), the successor to the widely praised ‘Your Paintings’ website. The idea is to make the country’s vast collection of publicly owned art as accessible and well documented as possible by digitising as many works as it can, as well as encouraging opportunities for public participation. The Art UK website already displays some 200,000 oil paintings housed in 3,000 public collections across the country, most of which are not on public view. It’s not just art galleries and museums represented here – other public institutions collaborating with the initiative include hospitals, schools, town halls and other civic buildings. The next step is to broaden the focus to include watercolours, sculpture, drawing and prints. This astonishing feat of organisation is a truly laudable effort to open the nation’s art to the public.

BADA to Spearhead Campaign against Quarterly Tax Returns | The British Antique Dealers’ Association is to lead a campaign to stop the UK government’s proposed plans to introduce quarterly tax returns. The new measures, which will require businesses and self-employed people to update their tax details four times per year, have been mooted as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s ‘digital revolution’. BADA opposes the plans, believing they will create problems for small businesses: ‘These proposals will penalise MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises) in particular’, says BADA CEO Marco Forgione, ‘because, unlike big businesses like Google, they don’t have large teams of accountants working away on their tax issues.’ BADA will make a formal submission to HM Treasury and HMRC in the coming months.

Fondazione Cini Unveils Fastest Scanner to Date | The Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice has unveiled a scanner that will be the fastest to date for the digitisation of images. The ‘Replica 360 r/v’ consists of a revolving table equipped with columns of digital cameras linked to computers and software; it can photograph both recto and verso of a document in only four seconds to a resolution well in excess of library standards. The prototype, which has been designed by the Factum Arte studio, will be used to photograph and digitally archive around one million photographs of artworks that make up the photo library collection at the Institute of Art History at the foundation – a process that should be complete by September 2018. The resulting files will be analysed using image-recognition algorithms devised by the Digital Humanities Lab of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, as part of the three-year REPLICA project launched in collaboration with the Fondazione Cini. Yes, it’s a scanner – but one that looks set to revolutionise how large documentary archives are recorded and accessed.

Serpentine Reveals Designs for 2016 Pavilion & Summer Houses | London’s Serpentine Gallery has revealed Bjarke Ingels’s design for this year’s Summer Pavilion, along with plans for smaller ‘summer houses’ by Kunlé Adeyemi and Barkow Leibinger. As far as we can tell from the digital mock-ups, Ingels’s pavilion seems elegant but weirdly familiar from commissions of years past. What do you think?

Uli Sigg on Uli Sigg | As a show devoted to his collection of Chinese art opens in Hong Kong, Uli Sigg has written a piece for CNN about his four decades of collecting in China. Sigg, who served as Switzerland’s ambassador to China from 1995–98, began collecting contemporary art in China before any kind of market existed for it. For anyone interested in China’s rapid adjustment to the free market, it’s an interesting read.

Thomas Schütte to Open Museum | Artist Thomas Schütte is to open a new sculpture museum in the grounds of the Hombroich Museum Island, near Düsseldorf. Schütte has apparently taken the plunge due to the uncertainty of ‘what to do with things when you’re dead.’ ‘Art storage space costs as much as an apartment.’

Harmony Korine Attacks the Canvas | The Guardian’s Nosheen Iqbal has spoken to anarchic film maker Harmony Korine about his new exhibition at the Gagosian in London. If you’re wondering what on earth the man behind Kids and Spring Breakers is doing with a paintbrush, look no further: ‘With the artworks there’s a kind of physical elevation and energy,’ he says. ‘That was what attracted me to drugs.’

Art Thief Returns Stolen Painting | Finally, a thief who stole a small watercolour of Kansas City’s Waldo Water Tower from a public library has returned the work by post along with a rather touching written apology. Who said contrition was dead?