Our daily round-up of news from the art world
Audrey Azoulay elected director general of UNESCO | The former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay has been elected to become UNESCO’s director general. Azoulay, who was the Minister for Culture and Communication from 2016 to 2017, will replace Irina Bokova, whose tenure was marked by the threats to Middle Eastern heritage sites in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq. According to Le Monde (French language article), Azoulay’s appointment, which is expected to be ratified by a vote of UNESCO’s General Assembly next month, has received mixed reactions from international delegates, notably from countries in the Middle East.
Controversial sculpture rejected by Louvre finds home at Centre Pompidou | A large sculpture by Dutch design studio Atelier Van Lieshout, which was due to be erected in Paris’s Tuileries gardens but rejected by Louvre officials on grounds of indecency, will now be displayed outside the Centre Pompidou. FIAC director Jennifer Flay said she was ‘delighted’ that a prominent public space had been found to install the work.
German cultural figures protest against AfD member’s appointment to parliamentary committee | More than 25,000 people, including numerous figures in the arts, have signed an open letter protesting against the appointment of the AfD’s Siegbert Droese to the German Parliament’s Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs. The letter argues that the far right party’s rhetoric should not be permitted to influence the ‘sensitive’ sphere of cultural policy.
Arabic script discovered on Viking funeral costumes | Experts examining funeral costumes discovered at a Viking burial site in Sweden in the 1970s have identified what they believe to be Arabic script woven into the garments’ fabric. The New York Times reports that researchers think that relations between Scandinavia and the Muslim world may have been far closer than previously believed.
Recommended reading | ArtNews has dug up a 1965 article from its archives, in which the great painter Ad Reinhardt is interviewed by… himself. The entertaining result is more or less a lesson in how not to speak to artists. Elsewhere, ArtNet’s Julia Halperin and Eileen Kinsella examine cultural leaders’ reactions to the USA’s withdrawal from UNESCO, while the Guardian’s Donald Macintyre looks at how culture is flourishing against the odds in Gaza. And in the LRB, Neal Ascherson visits Poland’s controversial Second World War museum and speaks to officials about government interference and the nuances of national memory.