Apollo Magazine

Devastating fire destroys the National Museum of Brazil

Plus: Art Basel introduces booth pricing-system to benefit young galleries | Ullens Center to open second museum | UK cultural figures sign letter demanding release of Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam | Adila Laïdi-Hanieh appointed director of Palestinian Museum | and Joanna Kamm named director of Liste Art Fair

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Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Devastating fire destroys the National Museum of Brazil | A fire broke out at the 200-year-old Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday evening. The museum is the oldest scientific institution in Brazil, holding an archive of 20 million items, including Graeco-Roman objects, fossils and ancient skeletons, some of which were brought to the country by Pedro I, the first emperor of Brazil. Much of the collection is believed to have been destroyed in the blaze. It is unclear how the fire began but the former Imperial Palace was in a state of disrepair and lacked adequate fire-safety measures, according to the museum’s vice-director Luiz Duarte, who blames government cuts. Nobody was injured in the fire.

Art Basel introduces booth pricing-system to benefit young galleries | Art Basel has announced a new pricing system for booths that is intended to benefit younger galleries. More established sellers taking larger booths will now pay a higher rate per square metre than those with smaller exhibits. Dealers that are new to the Galleries section of the fair will also receive a 20 percent discount, with a 10 per cent discount the following year. Only 20 per cent of galleries can expect to pay more than they otherwise might have, but this additional cost is capped at $10,000. The new system will come into effect at Art Basel in 2019 with a similar policy to be introduced at Art Basel Miami Beach later in the year and Art Basel Hong Kong in 2020.

Ullens Center announces opening of second museum | The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing has announced UCCA Dune, a second museum with ten new galleries, some of which will be buried beneath the sand, reports The Art Newspaper. The museum is to open this autumn and will be located by the Bohai Sea shore as part of the Aranya Gold Coast Community project, which is developing UCCA Dune in partnership with the 798 museum in Beijing. The new space has been referred to as ‘Guggenheimian in its specificity’, by UCCA director Philip Tinari and is expected to put on two shows each year.

UK cultural figures sign letter demanding release of Bangladeshi photojournalist  | Leading UK cultural figures have signed an open letter demanding the immediate release of photojournalist Shahidul Alam from prison. The list of signatories includes Arts Council chair Nicholas Serota, Tate Modern director Frances Morris, Liverpool Biennial director Sally Tallant, and the artists Antony Gormley, Mark Wallinger and Steve McQueen. Alam has been charged with potentially causing ‘deterioration in law and order’ after criticising the government of Bangladesh’s approach to road safety demonstrations on the streets of Dhaka last month. The letter describes the incarceration as ‘rooted in broader political repression’. It is thought that Alam’s has suffered from respiratory complications since his imprisonment.

Dr Adila Laïdi-Hanieh appointed director of Palestinian Museum | Dr Adila Laïdi-Hanieh has been announced as the new director of the Palestinian Museum by the Taawon-Welfare Association. Dr Laïdi-Hanieh is an academic of Palestinian art and cultural practices and founding director of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, where she was director until 2005. She takes up her post this month.

Joanna Kamm named director of Liste Art Fair | Joanna Kamm was named new director of Liste Art Fair on Friday, replacing co-founder Peter Bläuer who retired in April this year. Kamm founded Galerie Kamm in 2001 in Berlin and has recently worked as a curator for BNKR Munich. She began the role on 1 September.