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Buffalo museum raises $103 million for extension in record time

Plus: Artist calls for boycott of show at St Louis Contemporary Art Museum | David Attenborough unveils portrait in Leicester’s New Walk Museum | and recommended reading

23 September 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery raises $103 million in 12 weeks | The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, has announced that it has raised $103 million of the $125 million needed for a planned expansion – in less than 12 weeks. According to the New York Times, the donation has come from LA-based financier Jeffrey Gundlach, who hails from Buffalo. ‘It’s probably the fastest capital campaign in U.S. history,’ says Albright-Knox director Janne Sirén, who described the windfall as a ‘whirlwind’. When the expansion designed by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA, is complete, the museum will be renamed the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. ‘The museum should say Buffalo on it, for goodness sake,’ Gundlach told the NYT. ‘It’s probably the greatest cultural treasure in Buffalo.’

Artist calls for boycott of show at St Louis Contemporary Art Museum | Artist and activist Damon Davis has launched a campaign to boycott an exhibition at the St Louis Contemporary Art Museum on the grounds that it is ‘offensive to black people’, reports the St Louis American. Kelley Walker, the artist behind the show, has been criticised for insensitively appropriating images of racial unrest. ‘Kelley Walker, a white man, takes images of black women, and photos of black people being attacked by police and dogs, and smears toothpaste and chocolate on the images’, Davis wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week. She added. ‘This work is offensive to black people, black women in particular, and the black struggle for freedom that we and our ancestors have been engaging in since this country was founded.’

David Attenborough unveils portrait in Leicester’s New Walk Museum | Sir David Attenborough has unveiled a new portrait by artist Bryan Organ in Leicester’s New Walk Museum, where the veteran broadcaster volunteered as a teenager. The BBC reports that the portrait complements the museum’s likeness of Sir David’s brother, the film director Richard Attenborough. For a little more about Leicester’s art scene, read this.

Recommended reading | In the Guardian, Jonathan Jones hails the Whitechapel Gallery’s William Kentridge show as a ‘dazzling cinematic montage of modern times’, claiming that it is ‘the most convincing attempt […] by an artist of this century to meditate on the history of the last’. For a less celebratory start to the weekend, look to ArtNews, where Andrew Russeth breathes highly quotable fire on Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Vessel’, a proposed monument in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development. Russeth describes the renders for Heatherwick’s project as ‘ugly, boring, and largely pointless’, and argues that the $150million needed to construct it would be better spent on New York’s public arts funding. Russeth says: ‘It is a vessel for consumerism, for empty showmanship, and for all of the shallowness and superficiality that real art aims to counteract.’ Stirring stuff.

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