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Damien Hirst accused of cultural appropriation

11 May 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Damien Hirst accused of cultural appropriation | Damien Hirst has come under fire for an exhibit in his Venice show, ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’, which Nigerian artists claim takes direct but uncredited inspiration from Ile-Ife carved heads. In a letter sent to Hirst, Laolu Senbanjo describes Golden Heads (Female) as a ‘cheap knock off’ of a Yoruba ‘Ori Olokun’ sculpture, and criticises the British artist for failing to explain its proper context. Other commentators have made similar complaints. ‘It’s about time these things get appropriately credited’, Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor told CNN, after taking to Instagram to object to the work.

White House curator William Allman to retire | William Allman, who has served in the White House curatorial department for four decades, is to retire on 1 June. Allman’s departure comes shortly after White House usher Angella Reid was dismissed, creating two vacant positions on the permanent staff. Allman was promoted to chief curator in 2002. ‘It has been a tremendous honor to serve eight Presidents and First Ladies in helping to preserve and beautify the White House, and maintain and interpret its wonderful collections of art and furnishings,’ he said in a statement. ‘As a steward of the museum component of an ever-evolving and ever-bustling home and office, I truly have had a dream job.’

Louvre Abu Dhabi tipped to open in November | The Art Newspaper has spoken to sources who say that the long delayed Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open in November. Few details have been given, but a ‘working date’ in the second half of the month has reportedly been mentioned in official talks. An opening date is expected to be announced soon.

Thomas W. Gaehtgens to retire from Getty Research Institute in 2018 | The Getty Research Institute’s director, Thomas W. Gaehtgens, is to retire next spring. Gaehtgens has led the institute since 2007, during which time he has overseen the dramatic expansion of its research projects – including digital and international intiatives – and several high-profile acquisitions.

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker appointed director and CEO of Biennale of Sydney | Former Frye Art Museum director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker is to take up the leadership of Sydney’s Biennale, overseeing the 2018 edition. Prior to joining the Frye, Birnie Danzker directed the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich and the Vancouver Art Gallery, and won praise for curating shows at institutions including MoMA PS1.