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Damien Hirst sculptures may be leaking dangerous gas

Plus: Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery to be restored | Joint exhibition of Gurlitt collection delayed | Smithsonian American Art Museum director to step down | Shortlist announced for Art Mill international design competition | William Kentridge makes major donation to EYE | Recommended reading: Zaha Hadid’s legacy and a golden flush at the Guggenheim?

21 April 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Are Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde sculptures dangerous? | Art critics at the time certainly thought so. Now, though, a study in scientific journal Analytical Methods suggests that works by the artist including Away from the Flock (1994) and the famous Mother and Child Divided are emitting potentially harmful levels of formaldehyde gas. In response, Hirst’s Science Ltd company has said it is ‘baffled’ by the findings, while Tate has affirmed that safety for staff and visitors is a ‘priority.’

Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery to be restored | Lawyers acting on behalf of Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery, part of which was recently demolished on the orders of local police, have obtained a license to begin restoring the building. The authorities deemed the structure unsafe following a partial collapse earlier this month, and according to occupants of the building, undertook demolition work without their permission. A statement posted on the gallery’s Facebook page clarifies that remaining parts of the building will not be destroyed, and that the gallery is taking the opportunity to ‘reimagine its role and responsibilities as an independent cultural space at this crucial time.’

Joint exhibition of Gurlitt collection delayed | The Kunstmuseum Bern and the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn have announced that a joint exhibition of parts of Cornelius Gurlitt’s collection originally planned for later this year has been delayed. The postponement (until 2017 at the earliest) is due to a Munich court’s decision that it will not rule on a challenge to the mysterious collector’s will until after September.

Smithsonian American Art Museum director to step down | Elizabeth “Betsy” Broun has announced that she is to stand down from the directorship of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery after 27 years in the top job. She will leave the institution at the end of the year.

Shortlist announced for Art Mill international design competition | The competition to design Art Mill, a new art museum on Doha’s waterfront, has entered its third and final phase. Impressed by the quality of the submissions, the judging panel extended its final shortlist to include eight architectural practices instead of the expected five. The firms named are Adam Khan Architects (UK), Atelier Bow-Wow (Japan), EAA Emre Arolat Architecture (Turkey), Elemental (Chile), junya.ishigami + associates (Japan), Mangado & Asociados (Spain), Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Italy) and Rice+Lipka (USA).

William Kentridge makes major donation to EYE | William Kentridge, Apollo’s artist of the year 2015, has donated 10 films to Amsterdam’s EYE Film Museum. (Dutch language article.) Together, the 10 works make up the ‘Drawings for Projections’ series, which Kentridge won acclaim for in the 1990s. Jaap Guldemond, EYE’s director of exhibitions, has described it as an ‘enormously generous donation.’

Recommended reading: Zaha Hadid’s legacy and a golden flush at the Guggenheim? | The New York Times has published a piece on the future of London-based architectural practice Zaha Hadid Architects following the death of its charismatic founder last month. ‘We want to tell the world that we’re still a viable, vibrant address for major work of cultural importance,’ says the senior partner Patrik Schumacher. In the wake of Marc Quinn and Yayoi Kusama’s respective splits from White Cube and Gagosian, The Art Newspaper carries an investigation into who gets what when artists part ways with longstanding galleries. Meanwhile in the Guardian, Jonathan Jones has offered his (largely sceptical) thoughts on Maurizio Cattelan’s golden toilet, soon to be installed at New York’s Guggenheim. Warning: it gets a little scatological.

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