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Belfast’s MAC seeks emergency funding

Plus: Jens Hoffmann responds to Jewish Museum dismissal | Baltimore’s The Contemporary museum closes | Strasbourg City Museums appoints Paul François Lang as director | and Chuck Close is accused of sexual harassment

20 December 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Belfast’s MAC seeks emergency funding | A Belfast councillor has warned that the city’s Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) may be forced to close if its requests for emergency public funding are not met, reports the BBC. The venue, which opened in 2012, received £40,000 in emergency funds from Belfast council in October, and has now asked for an additional £300,000 from the city council as well as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland before the end of the 2017–18 financial year, and a further £270,000 in 2018–19 to address urgent cash flow problems.  ‘All the parties that are involved in this have to come to the table and provide the finances necessary,’ said DUP councillor Graham Craig. ‘Without that, there is a danger that the MAC will not be able to continue trading.’

Jens Hoffmann responds to Jewish Museum dismissal | Following the Jewish Museum’s decision to formally cut ties with Jens Hoffmann earlier this week, the curator has issued a response denying any form of sexual misconduct. In a statement seen by ArtNews, Hoffmann wrote that he had ‘never knowingly or purposefully behaved in a bullying, intimidating, harassing, or sexually inappropriate manner’. Hoffmann also cited his many years of work with ‘many women artists […] whose work specifically focuses on feminist subjects’, including Martha Rosler, on whom he was due to curate a retrospective in 2018. Rosler has since confirmed that Hoffmann will no longer be involved with the exhibition, and that she ‘supports the Jewish Museum’s decision to take this matter seriously and to safeguard its employees’.

Baltimore’s The Contemporary museum closes | The Contemporary, Baltimore’s roving museum of contemporary art, has been mothballed, with the 30-year-old institution’s board of directors citing a lack of funding and the failure to find a new executive director as reasons for the closure. The board has assured patrons that the end to its current operations, which ceased on 9 December, does not represent a permanent closure. The institution has been temporarily closed before, ceasing operations in 2012 before reopening three years later.

Strasbourg City Museums appoints Paul François Lang as director | Paul-François Lang, current deputy director and chief curator of Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, is joining Strasbourg City Museums as new director from April 2018 (French-language article). Lang succeeds former chief heritage curator and director of the Strasbourg’s museums and historic monuments, Joëlle Pijaudier-Cabot, who is retiring after after eleven years in the role. 

Chuck Close is accused of sexual harassment | Two women who posed for the artist Chuck Close have accused him of sexual harassment, reports the Huffington Post. The women say that Close invited them to his studio, where he made inappropriate comments and made requests that made them feel uncomfortable. Close’s lawyer has issued a statement denying that any sexual acts took place.

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