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Institutions cut ties with David Adjaye after sexual misconduct allegations

9 July 2023

The Studio Museum in Harlem has cut ties with the architect David Adjaye who has designed its new building. The move comes after an investigation in the Financial Times that published allegations of sexual misconduct by Adjaye made by three women. The architect has resigned his roles as an architectural adviser to the mayor of London, as a trustee of the Serpentine Galleries and from working on the Holocaust Memorial in Westminster. He strongly denied the allegations in a statement issued on 4 July. In a letter to the New York Times, the chairman of the Studio Museum, Raymond J. McGuire, said: ‘The actions being alleged are counter to the founding principles and values of the Studio Museum.’ Work on the Studio Museum building will continue in the hands of Adjaye Associates’ New York office and Cooper Robertson. In the United States, the Trustees of the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon has appointed another firm to replace Adjaye Associates on a new library project and the de Cordova Sculpture Park has placed an upcoming show of work by David Adjaye on hold. With offices in London, New York and Accra, David Adjaye – who was knighted in 2017 – is one of the most successful architects of his generation, with high-profile commissions in the works including Ghana’s National Cathedral, the International Slavery and Maritime Museum in Liverpool and the Edo Museum of West African Art.

The Heritage for Peace foundation has released an initial report compiling evidence of the destruction of cultural property in Sudan since the outbreak of civil war in April. Bringing together accounts from civilians, military organisations and cultural workers, the report says that many cultural centres have been looted, destroyed or turned into military bases. Among the destroyed archives is the Mohamed Omer Bashir Centre for Sudanese Studies at Omdurman Ahlia University in Khartoum. Also in the capital, the Sultan Bahruddin Museum and the National History Museum have both been bombed. Heritage for Peace, a non-profit based in Spain, has launched the Sudan Heritage Protection Initiative (SHPI), to monitor the situation in the country and publish monthly updates concerning cultural sites.

The art historian Michael Kauffmann, who was director of the Courtauld Institute from 1985–95, has died. It was under his leadership that the Institute and the Gallery moved into Somerset House. Kauffmann was born in Frankfurt in 1931 and sent to school in England in 1938, where he was joined by his parents who were fleeing Nazi Germany. (His father was the art dealer Arthur Kauffmann.) After studying for his PhD at the Warburg Institute, he became assistant keeper at the Manchester City Art Gallery before moving in 1960 to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he was eventually keeper of prints and drawings from 1975–85. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1987. A specialist in Romanesque manuscripts, Kauffmann’s major work on the subject was published in 1975. His last book was Eve’s Apple to the Last Supper (2017), a study of illustrations of food and meals described in the Bible.

Ralph Gleis, currently director of the Altenationalgalerie in Berlin, has been appointed director of the Albertina Museum in Vienna. Gleis, who is a specialist in 19th-century art and modernism, will take up his post in January 2025, succeeding Klaus Albrecht Schröder who has been director of the institution for 25 years. In Berlin, Gleis has curated shows of Belgian Symbolism and an augmented reality exhibition around Caspar David Friedrich’s Monk by the Sea. The Berliner Zeitung reports that Gleis will focus on international co-operation and working in more sustainable ways, with a focus on making ‘a museum for today’s people with today’s questions’.