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Australia budgets $50m for Captain Cook commemorations

8 May 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Australia plans new monuments to Captain Cook | In today’s federal budget, the Australian government confirmed that some $50m (AUSD) has been earmarked for commemorations of Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia in 1770. According to ABC, $3m (AUSD) will be spent on transforming a site at Botany Bay into an ‘aquatic monument’ to Cook, including a museum and visitor centre. ‘It was a momentous occasion for our country,’ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on a visit to the site last month. Monuments to Cook are bound to be controversial: as one Aboriginal activist quoted in the Times (£) has said, the arrival of Europeans on the Australian mainland was ‘still an invasion and it’s still an unwanted invasion.’

Stolen paintings recovered in Italy | Italian investigators say they have recovered three paintings stolen from museums in the Bologna area in recent months, reports the Associated Press. The works include a 14th-century depiction of St Ambrose attributed to Giusto de’Menabuoi that disappeared from the National Pinacoteca of Bologna in March. Police say they identified the thief from surveillance videos in the museums.

New York art dealer pleads guilty to fraud | The former head of Chowaiki & Company Fine Art has pled guilty to a charge of wire fraud, reports the Art Newspaper. In December, Ezra Chowaiki was charged with defrauding a number of art collectors and dealers; he is accused of having fraudulently transferred more than $16m of artwork in the period 2015–17. He has been ordered to forfeit around $16m as well as some 20 paintings, including works by Picasso, Degas and Chagall. Sentencing is scheduled for 12 September.

Online petition calls for Anna Coliva’s reinstatement at Galleria Borghese | Some 1,500 people have signed a petition demanding the reinstatement of Anna Coliva to her post as director of Rome’s Galleria Borghese. Coliva, who was suspended for six months without pay last week, is expected to stand trial on controversial charges of absenteeism.