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Elizabeth Alexander named president of Mellon Foundation

Plus: Picasso’s Actor will stay in Met museum collection | Export bar placed on album of Julia Margaret Cameron photographs | Amy Sherald wins 2018 David C. Driskell Prize | and initial designs for £1.6bn Stonehenge tunnel released

8 February 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Elizabeth Alexander named president of Mellon Foundation |
Poet and academic Elizabeth Alexander has been named as the next president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Alexander, who was elected by the trustees of the foundation, will assume her role in March. She succeeds Earl Lewis, who is stepping down after a five-year term. Over the course of her career, Alexander has served in various academic and artistic roles, at organisations including the Ford Foundation where as director of creativity and free expression she co-designed Agnes Gunds $100 million Art for Justice fund.

Picasso’s Actor will stay in Met museum collection | A New York district court judge yesterday ruled that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is to remain the legal owner of Pablo Picasso’s painting The Actor (1904–05), reports the New York Times. The descendants of German-Jewish art collector Paul Friedrich Leffmann had claimed that he had been forced to sell the work under duress in 1938 after fleeing the Nazi regime. However, the court found that ‘the painting was never in the hands of the Nazis and was never sold or transferred as a result of Nazi-era duress,’ as the museum said in a statement that welcomed the ruling.

Export bar placed on album of Julia Margaret Cameron photographs | An album of photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, including images of Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin, could leave the UK unless a buyer can be found to match the £3.7 million asking price. Cameron put the album together herself as a gift for her daughter and her husband, Charles Norman, and it is one of 10 such collections of her work known to exist. The decision to grant an export license will be deferred until 5 May.

Amy Sherald wins 2018 David C. Driskell Prize | Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has announced that Amy Sherald has been awarded the 2018 David C. Driskell Prize in honour of her contributions to the field of African-American art. The announcement comes days before the scheduled unveiling of Sherald’s portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama, which will take place at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on 12 February. The museum’s annual $25,000 prize recognises the achievements of early-to-mid career scholars and artists who have made a significant contribution to African-American art or art history.

Initial designs for £1.6bn Stonehenge tunnel released | Highways England has released the initial designs for a proposed road tunnel at Stonehenge, published to coincide with the beginning a public consultation phase running until 6 April, the Guardian reports. The designs show that the proposed length of the tunnel has been slightly increased since the original proposals, which were criticised for putting the World Heritage Site in danger. The still-controversial scheme is estimated to cost around £1.6 billion, with plans for works to begin in 2021 and be completed by 2025.

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