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BFI abandons plans for £130m film and television centre

Plus: Betty Woodman (1930–2018) | La Salle University plans to sell works from its art collection | Lahore Biennale confirms March opening date | Museums Association calls for ivory ban exemption for UK museums | Thorsten Sadowsky is appointed director of Salzburg’s Museum der Moderne

3 January 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

BFI abandons plans for national centre for film and television | The British Film Institute has shelved its plans for a new £130m national centre for film and television, which was to be designed by German architect Ole Scheeren and located on the site of the Hungerford Bridge car park, the body confirmed yesterday. The project had been in the works for nearly a decade, when in 2008 then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown first backed the BFI’ s initial plan for a new home (support was withdrawn in 2010; the BFI later revived the scheme thanks to private backing). The BFI says that it was unable to meet the deadline to complete the planning process, citing the project’s ‘scale and complexity’ and the ‘turbulent economic climate and shifting political environment’ as factors behind the cancellation. The organisation will now instead focus on a refurbishment of its current home on the Southbank.

Betty Woodman (1930–2018) | American artist Betty Woodman, best known for her brightly painted ceramic sculptures, has died aged 87. Her artistic career spanned from 1950, when she graduated from Alfred University’s School for American Craftsmen, and in 2008 her work was subject to a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two years later in 2010 a documentary, The Woodmans, chronicling the lives of Betty, her husband the artist George Woodman and their two children (electronic artist Charles Woodman and photographer Francesca Woodman), was released. However, it was not until 2016 that Woodman received her first solo exhibition in the UK, at London’s ICA.

La Salle University announces plan to sell works from its art collection | Philadelphia’s La Salle University has announced that it plans to sell off 46 works from the collection of its art museum in order to help fund teaching and learning initiatives. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the university has ‘struggled to plug a projected deficit’, and hopes to raise more than $7m from the sale of works by artists including Ingres, Albert Gleizes and Elisabeth Frink. The announcement has been met with criticism, with the local arts community expressing shock at the proposed sale. A spokesperson for the university described the decision as ‘a strategic and good use of our assets’.

Lahore Biennale confirms March opening date | After months of ambiguity over its future, the inaugural Lahore Biennale is confirmed to be opening in March of this year, with several new advisory appointments also now announced. Following the resignation of Rashid Rani, the event’s artistic director, last September, it had previously been unclear whether the Biennale would take place at all. However, a list of participating artists and venues has yet to be announced.

Museums Association calls for exemption on ivory ban for UK museums | In response to a proposed ban on elephant ivory, the Museums Association has called for a licensing system similar to that currently imposed on firearms. The association’s suggestion would see any ivory objects of ‘significant artistic, cultural or historical value’ in the collections of accredited UK museums exempted from the ban.

Thorsten Sadowsky is appointed director of Salzburg’s Museum der Moderne | Kirchner Museum Davos director Thorsten Sadowsky has been named as the next director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. Sadowsky, who previously led both Denmark’s Kunsthalle Aarhus and the Museum Kunst der Westküste on the island of Föhr, will succeed Sabine Breitwieser, who has directed the Salzburg institution since 2012. He will take up the position in September 2018.

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