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Bertille Bak wins Mario Merz Prize for art

Plus: Courtauld Institute adds courses in contemporary and modern African art | and Jill Freedman (1939–2019)

10 October 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

Bertille Bak wins Mario Merz Prize | The French artist Bertille Bak, whose films combine documentary and fiction to depict the communities she takes as her subjects, has won the third biannual Mario Merz Prize for art. The prize, which is awarded by the Fondazione Merz, honours creators working in art and music composition. The past winners in the art category are Wael Shawky and Petrit Halilaj.

Courtauld Institute of Art adds courses in contemporary and modern African art | The Courtauld Institute of Art in London will hire two new permanent members of staff to lecture on modern and contemporary African and African diaspora art. The new posts are funded by a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and courses for undergraduates will be offered during the 2020–21 academic year; special options for postgraduate degrees will become available the following year. In a statement, the institute said that the grant ‘will help further develop the Courtauld’s robust research programme that focuses attention on migration, diversity, and artists who have been marginalised by curricula and arts institutions’.

Jill Freedman (1939–2019) | The photographer Jill Freedman has died at the age of 79. Freedman was known for frank, empathetic portraits of street life in 1970s New York and for embedding herself with tightly-knit groups – including travelling circuses, firefighters, and urban beat cops – for months at a time to capture unguarded moments of camaraderie. ‘Woody Guthrie had his guitar that said this machine kills fascists,’ she once said. ‘I’d love to do that with a camera.’

 

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