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English cathedrals facing maintenance crisis

24 April 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Cost of maintenance presents funding difficulties for England’s cathedrals | Rising costs for maintenance and repairs mean that as many as half of England’s cathedrals are facing ‘financial crisis’, reports the Guardian. Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney and chair of the Cathedrals Working Group, warns that the cathedral sector is experiencing financial difficulties  of ‘a new scale and depth’. Newman points to a shortfall in public funding, as well as ‘voracious’ legislative demands.

Missing Festival of Britain sculpture identified in hotel garden | A sculpture by the Hungarian-born artist Peter Laszlo Peri, which went missing after the Festival of Britain, has resurfaced in the garden of a London hotel. The Sunbathers, which was mounted over the entrance to Waterloo station during the 1951 event, was identified from a photography by visitors to Historic England’s Somerset House exhibition devoted to lost pieces of art. Historic England has launched a £15,000 appeal to pay for the restoration of the work. If the appeal is successful the sculpture will be displayed on the South Bank this summer.

NEA report reveals economic significance of arts in all 50 states | The National Endowment of the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis have released the results of a USA-wide survey of the impact of arts and culture in every state. The report concludes that cultural activities contributed nearly $730m to the economy from 1998–2014, representing a 35 per cent growth in terms of art and culture’s contribution to GDP.

Claire Doherty appointed director of Arnolfini | Bristol’s Arnolfini Gallery has announced that Claire Doherty is to take over as its new director on 1 August. Doherty, the founding director of public-art platform Situations, succeeds Kate Brindley, who announced that she was to stand down last December. ‘Claire is an inspiring leader, both visionary and entrepreneurial, and has excited us with her ideas for a vibrant future for Arnolfini’, says Anna Southall, chair of the Arnolfini’s trustees.

Recommended reading | ‘Right now, the art world is on a perpetual boil’, writes Carl Swanson in New York magazine. Swanson identifies a resurgence in political art in the United States. But, he asks, is this activism more than posturing? Elsewhere, Newsweek’s Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi considers how, during the Cold War, the CIA used art for its political ends in the Middle East. In the FT, Jane Ure-Smith revisits the career of Sidney Nolan ahead of a retrospective at Chichester’s Pallant House gallery.