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Court rules that Berkshire Museum art sale can proceed

8 November 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Court rules that Berkshire Museum art sale can proceed | The Berkshire Museum’s sale of dozens of works from its collection, scheduled to hit the block at Sotheby’s New York on Monday 13 November, can go ahead as planned, a Berkshire Superior Court judge ruled yesterday. Judge John Agostini ruled against the legal challenges brought by two separate plaintiff groups – made up of several museum members as well as three sons of the artist Norman Rockwell, whose paintings are included in the upcoming sales – which sought to block the museum’s plans with a temporary restraining order. In his ruling, Agostini also issued a strong criticism of the Massachusetts Attorney General Office, which last week filed a brief attempting to halt the auctions, finding that the office failed to provide ‘any other theory by which the proposed auction would violate the law of public charities.’ For a fuller review of the court’s ruling, see the Berkshire Eagle’s report.

Lisa Le Feuvre is appointed first executive director of Holt-Smithson Foundation | The newly-established Holt-Smithson Foundation, created to advance the legacies of American land artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, has announced the appointment of its first executive director: Lisa Le Feuvre, former head of sculpture studies at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Le Feuvre began her new role at the US foundation, currently sited in Santa Fe, New Mexico, two weeks ago.

Prehistoric Greek sealstone is discovered in Bronze Age tomb | The University of Cincinnati has announced the discovery of an exceptionally fine piece of prehistoric Greek art, in the form of an intricately carved Minoan sealstone, found in the 3,500-year-old tomb of a Bronze Age warrior in southwest Greece. The tomb of the so-called ‘Griffin Warrior’ was unearthed near the ancient city of Pylos in 2015 by University of Cincinnati researchers. However, the Pylos Combat Agate, as the carved gem has been named, was encrusted in limestone and took over a year to clean and reveal the extraordinary level of detail in its battle-scene depiction, which researchers suggest should prompt a re-evaluation of current understandings of the development of ancient Greek art.

Museum of Arts and Design introduces $50,000 artist prize | New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) yesterday evening held its annual gala, where the creation of the Burke Prize, a new $50,000 award for artists ‘working in and advancing the disciplines that shaped the American studio craft movement’, was announced. The prize, named in honour of craft collectors and long-time MAD patrons Marian and Russell Burke, is to be awarded yearly to a professional US artist under the age of 45 working in glass, fibre, clay, metals, or wood. The first winner will be announced in autumn 2018.

Recommended reading | Following her recent resignation as director of the Stedelijk Museum over conflict of interest accusations, Beatrix Ruf has directly addressed the allegations in an interview with the New York Times. Ruf described the situation as a ‘misunderstanding’, stating that all of her professional activities outside of her Stedelijk role were ‘contractually approved’ and that she ‘reported everything in good faith’. For Apollo’s piece, published last week, on the topic of museum directors and potential conflicts of interest, see here.