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BBC announces major new art historical series

21 December 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

BBC Announces Major New Art Series | Almost half a century after Kenneth Clark’s landmark TV series Civilisation, the BBC has announced a project intended to rival it in ambition: a 10-part documentary on the history of art, presented by Simon Schama, Mary Beard, and David Olusoga. The imaginatively titled Civilisations, which will begin shooting next year and is expected to air at the end of 2017, will cover the story of human creativity from prehistoric times to the present day. While Clark’s series focussed on Western art, the new series is intended to tell a more global story. Can the three TV regulars improve on Clark’s classic?

Paris: Museum Attendance Falls Following Attacks | This weekend made for depressing reading for the Paris art world. In Le Monde, Alain Beuve-Méry gives an interesting analysis of why the City of Light lags behind London, New York, and Hong Kong as an art market capital, and fails to capture the ‘prestige sales’ of its rivals. Meanwhile, according to The Art Newspaper, museum attendance figures have plummeted since terrorist attacks shook the city last month. In the fortnight following the atrocities, the Pompidou Centre’s visitor numbers fell by 50 per cent, while the Louvre saw a drop of 30 per cent.

…Don’t Do as the Romans Do… | As Italian Museums launch a historic partnership with Tunis’s Bardo Museum, less encouraging news reaches us from Rome. As Rosie Scammell reports for Guardian Cities, the Italian capital faces a ‘logistical nightmare’, with fundamental infrastructure problems colliding with concerns over the protection of its astonishing cultural heritage. The city authorities have had to resort to unorthodox means in order to source the money for crucial restoration projects for the Colosseum and other landmarks, while the chaotic state of municipal politics has caused problems for basic services.

‘Cobblers’? Further Details Surface Over London’s Garden Bridge Controversy | Following last week’s council rebellion over plans for Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed ‘Garden Bridge’ in central London, more information about the controversial project’s troubled genesis has emerged. As Oliver Wainwright reports in the Guardian, questions of protocol have been raised over Heatherwick’s selection and the use of public funds. With typical restraint, London Mayor Boris Johnson has described the objections of Heatherwick-sceptics as ‘a load of cobblers’.

Leeds Art Gallery to Close for Repairs | Leeds Art Gallery is to close for over a year in January so that major repairs to the Victorian building’s roof can be undertaken, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post. The museum, which is currently playing host to British Art Show 8, attracted some 430,000 visitors last year, and is a cornerstone of the city’s bid for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023. While doors are closed, major works from the collection – including Edward Armitage’s Retribution (1858) and Francis Bacon’s Painting 1950 – will be loaned to institutions around the world.