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Cold weather forces precautionary measures at Pinacoteca di Brera

Plus: Maria Balshaw confirmed as Tate director | £4 million in grants awarded to museums and galleries in England | Fionn Meade resigns as Walker Art Center artistic director | Mark Fisher (1968–2017)

17 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Cold weather forces Pinacoteca di Brera to ‘cover’ works | According to Il Mattino (Italian language article), cold weather has forced curators at Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera to take precautionary steps to prevent damage to masterpieces in its collection. Some 40 paintings have been covered with strips of thin paper by restorers in order to secure them and monitor their condition, while two works – Bramante’s Christ at the Column and Stories from the Life of St Jerome by Lazaro Bastiani – have been sent to a restoration laboratory for repairs. According to the Times (£), the lack of humidity caused their wooden backings to shrink and made the paint buckle. Among the works examined for damage is Piero’s Brera Madonna, one of the most important works in the collection. ‘In 10 years, we have never encountered such cold, dry conditions’, said director James Bradburne. ‘It’s an exceptional situation which won’t happen again.’

Maria Balshaw confirmed as Tate director | In a release sent out this morning, Tate confirmed that Whitworth and Manchester City Galleries director Maria Balshaw is to succeed Sir Nicholas Serota as director. The appointment by the board of trustees has been approved by the prime minister, and marks the first time a woman has been chosen for the role. Balshaw, who has headed the Whitworth since 2006 and the MCG since 2011, will take up her post at the Tate on 1 June.

£4 million in grants awarded to museums and galleries in England | UK culture minister Matt Hancock has announced that £4 million in grants will be released to English museums and galleries in order to improve displays and facilities. Jointly funded through a partnership between DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation, the grants will be shared between 39 museums and galleries across the country.

Fionn Meade resigns as Walker Art Center artistic director | Fionn Meade has resigned as artistic director at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, reports ARTnews. Meade was appointed to the newly created role in March 2015, having previously served as senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms. The museum says that Meade’s decision was taken for ‘personal reasons’.

Mark Fisher (1968–2017) | Author and cultural theorist Mark Fisher has died at the age of 48. Known for works including Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (2009) and The Weird And The Eerie (2017, published only two weeks ago), Fisher was a visiting fellow and a lecturer on aural and visual cultures at Goldsmith’s College in London and contributed to many music and art publications. Among his greatest achievements was the k-punk blog he wrote from 2003 to 2015. ‘Reading Mark’s writing made everything feel more meaningful, supercharged with significance’, commented music writer Simon Reynolds.