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Boris Johnson under fire over Norton Folgate decision

Bjarke Ingels to Design Serpentine Pavilion | Appointment of new Culture Minister Divides Croatia | Huge Roman Arcade to Go on Show in Colchester

11 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Letter Calls for Investigation into Norton Folgate Development | Today’s Times (£) carries a letter urging Communities & Local Government Secretary Greg Clark to investigate the Mayor of London’s recent decision to approve British Land’s development on a historic site in Norton Folgate, east London. Signatories include playwright Alan Bennett, actress Julie Christie and Royal Academy Chief Executive Charles Saumarez Smith. Mayor Boris Johnson has attracted particular outrage for his decision to take the matter of approval into his own hands, overruling the decision of the local Tower Hamlets council.

Bjarke Ingels to Design Serpentine Pavilion | The 16th annual Serpentine Pavilion commission has gone to architectural ‘bigamist’ Bjarke Ingels. The 41-year-old Danish architect will present the final pavilion of Julia Peyton-Jones’s tenure as the gallery’s director. In a new move, four other organisations – those of Yona Friedman, Asif Khan, Kunlé Adeyemi and Berlin-based firm Barkow Leibinger – have been invited to submit additional designs for smaller pavilions based on a nearby folly.

Appointment of new Culture Minister Divides Croatia | Newly appointed Croatian culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegović is a divisive figure at the best of times. In his native land he is well known as a historian, but his appointment to the culture post last month has sparked criticism from parts of the arts sector. Hasanbegović has been pilloried for his lack of experience in cultural matters outside his specialist subject, and has suggested in the past that anti-Fascism – a cause marked by a national holiday in Croatia – is a ‘platitude’, arguing that the ‘Yugoslav totalitarian Communist legacy’ left an equally raw wound on the Balkan country. Hasanbegović’s statements are sensitive in a country that was ravaged by the pro-Nazi Ustasha militia during the Second World War, and riven by a war between partisans and collaborators. Opponents describe him as an apologist for the brutal Nazi client state that ruled Croatia from 1941–44.

Huge Roman Arcade to Go on Show in Colchester | The site of what experts believe to be the largest Roman arcade in Britain is to open to the public in Colchester, Essex. The ruins, which consist of 28 arches, have been gradually dug up from underneath the Castle House housing estate, and will go on public display this summer. They were first discovered in 1954, but it is only in recent years that their value has become apparent. Developers bought the site eight years ago with the intention of building a restaurant on it, but excavations revealed, to quote a local official, that they were sitting on a ‘major archaeological monument.’

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