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British Museum celebrates ‘most successful year ever’

Plus: Justine Simons appointed London’s deputy mayor for culture | UK memorials to war dead listed to mark anniversary of the Somme | Tod Williams and Billie Tsien selected to design Obama Presidential Library | Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac confirms plans for Mayfair gallery | and Guy Ullens announces intention to hand over ownership of UCCA

1 July 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

British Museum reveals record year for 2015/16 | The British Museum has released its annual review for 2015/16, confirming its place as the UK’s leading visitor attraction for the ninth year running. The institution has hailed its ‘most successful year ever’, with nearly 6.9 million visitors crossing the BM’s threshold over the period. Hartwig Fischer, who replaced Neil MacGregor as director in April, has stated his ambition to ‘plan imaginatively for all that the Museum can be in the future, and to build on all that is excellent in its past’.

Justine Simons appointed London’s deputy mayor for culture | London mayor Sadiq Khan has appointed Justine Simons as his deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries. Simons, a key figure in ventures such as the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square, has been involved with the culture sector for more than 20 years. ‘In the fallout from the EU referendum, our city’s cultural well-being has never been so important especially through its power to bring communities together, and to ensure our ongoing status as a globally attractive destination for business,’ Khan said. ‘Justine is a tour-de-force in London’s cultural scene, and she shares my passion to ensure culture is at the heart of city life.’

UK memorials to war dead listed on anniversary of the Somme | 15 war memorials across the United Kingdom have been granted greater protection status to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, reports the BBC. Seven of the memorials have been newly listed, while the rest have been upgraded to Grade II-listed status. ‘These memorials are a poignant reminder of those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago and an important part of our heritage,’ said Sport, Heritage, and Tourism minister David Evennett.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien selected to design Obama Presidential Library | Husband and wife architecture team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been named as winners of the competition to design the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Williams and Tsien, architects of the much-praised Barnes Foundation extension and the acclaimed, but now demolished American Folk Art Museum were selected from a shortlist of six candidates, beating off rival bids from Adjaye Associates and Renzo Piano. The project has an estimated cost of $500 million and is expected to open its doors to visitors in 2021.

Guy & Myriam Ullens to hand over ownership of UCCA | Belgian collector Guy Ullens has announced that he is looking to hand over his Beijing-based Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art to ‘younger patrons of the arts’. In a statement issued on behalf of the Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation, Mr Ullens cited age (he is now in his 80s) as the main factor for his decision to find new owners for the centre and its collection. Exhibitions will continue as usual until a new benefactor can be found.

 

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