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Curator cuts at Leicester museums spark outrage

Plus: Leonor Antunes to represent Portugal at Venice Biennale 2019 Collection of fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi to be auctioned | and Bob and Roberta Smith sends letter of protest to Hertfordshire council

13 March 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Curator cuts at Leicester museums spark outrage | Museum officials across the country, including V&A director Tristram Hunt, have condemned the decision to remove all four of the curators at Leicester’s museums, The Guardian reports. Specialists at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery (home to the Rutland dinosaur and a large group of Picasso ceramics bequeathed by Richard Attenborough) have already been given redundancy notices in a move prompted by a £320,000 cut to the city council’s arts budget. The curators’ jobs are set to be replaced with an ‘audience development and engagement team’.

Leonor Antunes to represent Portugal at Venice Biennale 2019 | Art News reports that the Berlin-based Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes will represent Portugal at the 58th Venice Biennale opening in May. The exhibition ‘Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge, or a knot’ will be curated by João Ribas, who controversially resigned as director of Porto’s Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art last year after only eight months in the role.

Collection of fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi to be auctioned | Nirav Modi, the billionaire art collector who fled India last year after being accused of major tax fraud, will reportedly have 68 of his artworks sold off by India’s tax authorities. Although not yet convicted, Modi was stripped of his Indian passport and international assets last October. The sale off of his collection, which includes works by eminent Indian artists such as Raja Ravi Varma, Bhupen Khakhar, and F. N. Souza among others, is set to take place on 26 March at the Mumbai auction house Saffronart.

Bob and Roberta Smith sends letter of protest to Hertfordshire council | Artist Bob and Roberta Smith has complained to Hertfordshire County Council about its plans to sell off more than 150 works from its art collection with the Cambridge-based auction house Cheffins on 21 March. Council leader David Williams has defended the sale, claiming the profits will be used to restore the most important works in its collection, which includes artists such as Julian Trevelyan, Keith Vaughan and John Minton.

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