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British Museum facilitates return of looted Iraqi antiquities

Plus: Prosecutors drop case against former Documenta officials | Mika Rottenberg wins Kurt Schwitters Prize 2019 | Norton Museum director to retire

10 August 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

British Museum facilitates return of looted Iraqi antiquities | In collaboration with the Metropolitan Police, experts from the British Museum have identified the source and facilitated the return of a collection of looted Iraqi antiquities, reports the Guardian. The eight objects, which date back to around 3,000 BC, are believed to have been looted from the ancient site of Girsu (now Tello) in southern Iraq shortly after the US invasion in 2003. They were seized from an unnamed dealer in London that same year, but until now a lack of documentation meant that they remained in police storage. 

Prosecutors drop case against former Documenta officials | Kassel’s state prosecutor has closed its investigation into the financial management of the 14th edition of Documenta, held in Kassel and Athens last year. A lawsuit had been brought against Documenta’s supervisory board, its former CEO Annette Kulenkampff, and curator Adam Szymczyk, by members of the right-wing political party AfD. The officials stood accused of embezzlement and mismanaging public funds after it was discovered that last years edition of the quinquennial exhibition had resulted in a €5.4 million deficit. Artnet reports that the case was closed on 30 July, with investigators finding ‘no evidence of criminal conduct’.

Mika Rottenberg wins Kurt Schwitters Prize 2019 | The Argentinian artist Mika Rottenberg has been awarded the 2019 edition of the biannual Kurt Schwitters Prize, reports Monopol (German-language article). The prize, which consists of 25,000 and a solo show at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, is awarded by the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung (the Lower Saxony Savings Bank Foundation) to contemporary artists whose work is seen to relate to the art of Kurt Schwitters.

Norton Museum director to retire | The Norton Museum of Art’s CEO and Executive Director Hope Alswang has announced plans to retire in March 2019 after nine years leading the Florida institution. Her retirement is timed to directly follow the opening of a major expansion of the museum overseen by Norman Foster, scheduled for 9 February 2019. A search committee has been formed to appoint Alswang’s successor.

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