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Ethiopian government seeks return of artefacts from V&A

23 April 2018

Ethiopian government seeks return of V&A artefacts | In a recent interview with The Art Newspaper, the Ethiopian ambassador to Britain restated his government’s demand that 19th-century Ethiopian artefacts held at the V&A and elsewhere must be returned. Earlier this month, V&A director Tristram Hunt had offered long-term loans of the museum’s items, which were looted by British forces in 1868 at the Battle of Maqdala, but ambassador Hailemichael Afework Aberra has confirmed that Ethiopia considers this unacceptable. Its position may concern other institutions with Maqdala holdings, including the British Museum and British Library.

Former MoMA director Richard E. Oldenburg has died | Longtime MoMA director Richard E. Oldenburg died last week in New York, the New York Times reports. Oldenburg, the younger brother of the sculptor Claes, ran MoMA between 1972 and 1994; he oversaw a major expansion project that doubled the museum’s size and increased its visitor numbers by 50 per cent. During his tenure, MoMA also mounted landmark exhibitions including retrospectives of Picasso (in 1980) and Matisse (in 1992).

CB1 gallery in Los Angeles to close after artists’ complaints | Los Angeles’ contemporary CB1 gallery has announced its closure, reports the LA Times. The decision follows an open letter from several artists, alleging that the owners ‘consistently failed to honour the gallery’s contracts, both written and verbal’. The gallery, which moved to expensive new downtown premises in 2015, is co-owned by Clyde Beswick, who once served a prison sentence for filing false tax returns, and Jason Chang.

Recommended reading | In the London Review of Books, Tom Crewe writes about Tate Britain’s ‘Impressionists in London’ exhibition, which ‘reminds us to see them as they were seen, and as they saw themselves’. Jordan Riefe speaks to David Hockney for Observer about Hockney’s new series of large portraits, and several upcoming exhibitions. And for Le Monde (French language article), Roxana Azimi charts a recent spate of artworks vanishing from French government buildings.