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Bulgarian billionaire’s antiquities collection seized by authorities

Plus: Ikko Narahara (1931–2020) | and Courtauld appoints Tzo Zen Ang as first managing director

4 February 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Collection of antiquities belonging to Bulgarian billionaire seized by authorities | A collection of more than 3,000 ancient artefacts is among the assets seized by Bulgarian authorities after its owner, the billionaire businessman Vasil Bojkov, was charged with a number of offences including extortion, blackmail, coercion, and leading an organised crime group. Bojkov, who has been detained in Dubai, has been charged in absentia. Housed in the Thrace Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by Bojkov in 2004, his collection includes items dating from around 4,000 BC to the sixth century. Their provenance has in the past been called into question, with the then director of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences describing an exhibition of works from the collection in 2007 as ‘the fruit of grave-robbing’. In a statement, the Thrace Foundation described the seizure as ‘an unprecedented violation against world cultural and historical heritage’.

Ikko Narahara (1931–2020) | Ikko Narahara, the Japanese post-war photographer who co-founded documentary photography group VIVO, has died at the age of 88. Born in 1931 in Fukuoka Prefecture, Narahara studied law at Chuo University and art history at Waseda University, both in Tokyo, before joining the avant-garde collective Jitsuzaisha in 1955. Narahara co-founded VIVO in 1959 with Eikoh Hosoe, Kikuji Kawada, Akira Sato, Akira Tanno, and Shomei Tomatsu, and developed a career shooting what he called ‘personal documents’ that recorded, on black-and-white film, modernity and the effects of natural and man-made disasters in remote communities.

Courtauld Institute appoints Tzo Zen Ang as first managing director | The Courtauld Institute of Art in London has appointed Tzo Zen Ang as managing director, a newly created role that will oversee operations at the Courtauld, which is currently undertaking a £50m capital project, Courtauld Connects. Tzo Zen, formerly chief operating officer at the Royal Academy of Arts, takes up the new position on 27 February.

Lead image: used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 4.0)