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Director of Ghent’s Museum of Fine Arts suspended

8 March 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Director of Ghent’s Museum of Fine Arts suspended | Catherine de Zegher, the director of Ghent’s Museum of Fine Arts, has been suspended from her position, reports Het Nieuwsblad (Flemish-language article). Following criticism from fellow museum leaders over her handling of a recent exhibition of Russian avant-garde art of uncertain provenance, de Zegher will take a leave of absence pending the results of an external investigation. According to Le Soir (French-language article), de Zegher has been accused of misleading officials from Ghent’s cultural committee, by claiming that the contested works had been examined by two external experts prior to the exhibition.

BAE withdraws from Great Exhibition of the North | Following widespread protests from artists participating in the planned Great Exhibition of the North over its sponsorship by arms manufacturer BAE Systems, the sponsor has withdrawn its support from the event. As the FT reports, the precise details of BAE’s financial involvement in the exhibition are unclear. The firm, which has been subject to criticism for selling weapons to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing conflict in Yemen, said in a statement that it remains ‘supportive of the aims of the Great Exhibition’ but has decided to redirect sponsorship towards ‘other initiatives better suited to both our skills and innovation objectives’.

US Holocaust Museum revokes human rights award from Aung San Suu Kyi | The United States Holocaust Museum yesterday announced that it had revoked the Elie Wiesel award, presented in 2012 to Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, over her failure ‘to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign’ against the Rohingya Muslim population. The museum’s director Sara Bloomfield explained the decision to rescind the honour in an open letter to the Myanmar embassy in Washington, published on the institution’s website.

Artist-in-residence at Tate quits over ‘invisible inequalities’ | Liv Wynter, an artist-in-residence for education, schools and learning at Tate Modern, has quit in protest against what she described in her resignation letter as the ‘invisible inequalities of the institution’. A particular focus of Wynter’s criticism are recent controversial remarks made by Tate director Maria Balshaw.

Balkrishna Doshi awarded Pritzker Prize for Architecture | Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi has been awarded the 2018 Pritzker prize, widely regarded as the profession’s highest honour. Born in 1927, Doshi studied architecture in Mumbai before taking a job working for Le Corbusier in Paris in 1951, overseeing Corbusier’s projects in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. He subsequently came to prominence for his own radical low-cost housing projects. ‘Balkrishna Doshi has always created an architecture that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends,’ said the Pritzker jury, singling out his ‘deep sense of responsibility’.