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Eleven Ben Uri advisory board members resign over collection sale

Plus: Descendant of Jewish art dealers sues Dutch government | Leon and Debra Black donate $40m to MoMA | and Joanna Mytkowska wins Igor Zabel Award

21 November 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Eleven Ben Uri advisory board members resign over collection sale | Eleven members of the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum’s international advisory panel resigned yesterday (20 November) over the museum’s decision to deaccession some 700 works in its collection, the Art Newspaper reports. Five of the works went to auction at Sotheby’s last night, with four sold for a total of more than £1m; additional auctions are scheduled for tonight and 13 December. The resigning board members, who include Nicholas Serota, Griselda Pollock and Norman Rosenthal, said in a statement: ‘We were not consulted in advance on the proposed sales and believe that sales of such important works from the collection are a grave mistake.’ The sale is part of a broader restructuring plan at the Ben Uri that was announced last month.

Descendant of Jewish art dealers sues Dutch government | The New York Times reports that Bruce Berg, an American heir of the Jewish Dutch art dealer Benjamin Katz, has brought a lawsuit against the Dutch government to the US court system. The suit alleges that 143 paintings in Dutch collections sold to Nazi officials by Katz and his brother, Nathan Katz, ought to be returned. The Katz family has long argued that the sales were made under duress, a claim which has been denied by a Dutch government-appointed panel.

Leon and Debra Black donate $40m to MoMA | The Museum of Modern Art has announced a donation of $40m from its board chairman, Leon Black, and his wife, Debra. The funds will go towards the museum’s $400m capital project, which will see 40,000 square feet of gallery space added and the construction of a new tower. The gift will be recognised with the inauguration of the Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center at the museum.

Joanna Mytkowska wins Igor Zabel Award | The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2018 has been awarded to Joanna Mytkowska, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The biennial award recognises an exceptional contribution to visual art or culture in central, eastern or southeastern Europe, and comes with a prize of €76,000; in 2016 it was awarded to the Russian curator and writer Viktor Misiano.

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