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Documenta 14 cancels controversial performance

Plus: New York museum backs calls to remove statue of slavery-era medic | Burglary at the University Museum of Bergen | and Sotheby’s scraps online buyer’s premiums

23 August 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Documenta 14 cancels controversial performance | The organisers of Documenta 14 have cancelled a performance by Italian writer Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, reports Artnet. Entitled Auschwitz on the Beach, Berardi’s performance was to address the migrant crisis in Europe, a tragedy he has previously compared to the Nazi death camps. The piece’s reference to the Holocaust provoked numerous complaints, with Charlotte Knobloch, commissioner for Holocaust Memorials of the World Jewish Congress, describing it as a ‘grotesque production’. A ‘participatory discussion’ on contemporary fascism and Europe’s migrant crisis, and a reading of Berardi’s writing, will be staged in place of the event this Thursday evening.

New York museum backs calls to remove statue of slavery-era medic | The Museum of the City of New York has issued a statement calling for the removal of a statue dedicated to a 19th-century medic who experimented on enslaved black women. The statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims, which stands in East Harlem, has been the target of similar calls in the past from local residents, activists and officials. The museum says that there is ‘a compelling argument’ to remove this ‘symbol of unethical racist medical practice.’

Burglary at the University Museum of Bergen | Norwegian police are seeking information that might lead to the recovery of some 400 artefacts stolen from the University Museum of Bergen earlier this month. The museum has posted photographs of some of the missing objects online in an attempt to make them harder for the thieves to sell on. Most are thought to date from the Iron Age, Migration Age and Viking Age. The museum’s director, Henrik von Achen, called the theft ‘a loss for all of us’.

Sotheby’s scraps online buyer’s premiums | Sotheby’s has announced that it is to drop buyer’s premiums for online-only auctions, reports the Art Newspaper. The auction house ‘is on track to double’ online-only auctions this year after introducing them in 2016. CEO Tad Smith believes the move will ‘simplify the auction process’.

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