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Concerns grow over sale of Yeats Family Collection

Plus: Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo announces new foundation in Madrid | Puerto Rico museums remain closed after Hurricane Maria | Jean Nouvel defends treatment of construction workers at Louvre Abu Dhabi | Nicole Eisenman’s sculpture defaced with swastika in Münster | and recommended reading

25 September 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Concerns grow over sale of Yeats Family Collection | Leading writers and academics have written an open letter to the Irish Times, calling upon Irish culture minister Heather Humphreys to save the Yeats Family Collection for the nation. The collection, which includes sketchbooks, manuscripts and letters once owned by the Yeats family, is to be sold at auction in London on 27 September. The letter states that ‘preserving such a collection for the future benefit of Ireland has to be within the power of the Government and the national institutions concerned’, and that ‘once the collection is broken up and sold, the chance will not come again’. The Irish Times has published an editorial endorsing the letter’s proposal.

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo announces new foundation in Madrid
| the Mayor of Madrid, Patrizia Sandretta Re Rebaudengo and the co-ordinator of Madrid City Council today announced the creation of the Fundación Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Madrid. The Fundación, which will open in 2019, will show in rotation 100 works on loan from the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin and will be housed in Nave 9 of the Centre for Contemporary Creation Matadero Madrid. The architect David Adjaye is already committed to the project.

Puerto Rico museums remain closed after Hurricane Maria | A number of art institutions in Puerto Rico are to remain closed until further notice after Hurricane Maria visited significant damage on the US overseas territory.  Artforum reports that museums including the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will not reopen to the public for the next few days at least. It is as yet impossible to ascertain whether the institutions’ collections have sustained significant damage.

Jean Nouvel defends treatment of construction workers at Louvre Abu Dhabi | Jean Nouvel, the architect behind the Louvre’s satellite in Abu Dhabi, has dismissed accusations that workers involved in the building’s construction were subjected to exploitative treatment. ‘At the beginning we saw the places where the workers live and their conditions to check that it was correctly done,’ Nouvel told the Anglo-American Press Association (via the Guardian). ‘They have the same conditions, even better conditions, than those I see in other countries. We checked and it was fine. We saw no problem.’

Nicole Eisenman’s sculpture defaced with swastika in Munster | Sketch for a Fountain, Nicole Eisenman’s contribution to this year’s Skulptur Projekte Münster, has been defaced with images including a swastika and a phallus. The work, which depicts four gender neutral figures arranged around a fountain, had already been targeted by vandals earlier in the exhibition’s run. Exhibition organisers reacted to the desecration of Eisenman’s work, describing the graffiti as a ‘fascist form of violence’.

Recommended reading | Two contrasting views of the Barbican’s Basquiat retrospective: in the Sunday Times (£), Waldemar Januszczak writes that the show is over-referential and Basquiat’s own reputation inflated by art world myth-making; in the Observer, Laura Cumming argues that Basquiat was a one-off whose art came ‘fully formed, almost, from the start’. Meanwhile in Frieze, Jonathan Sturgeon questions the value of the wave of ‘satirical’ art designed to mock Donald Trump and compares the individual works to social media memes. Over at ArtNews, the editors have dug up a letter written by Barnett Newman in 1968, in which he responds to a review written by the late John Ashbery. It seems that the artist did not enjoy being compared to the Surrealists…

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