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Europol sting recovers 18,000 stolen artefacts

Plus: Kamal Boullata (1942–2019) | Aichi Triennale artists sign statement calling for restoration of censorship exhibition | Academy Museum of Motion Pictures director resigns

7 August 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Europol sting recovers 18,000 stolen artefacts | Police from 29 countries worked together to seize 18,000 stolen cultural objects and arrest 59 people last year, it has been revealed. In the international effort coordinated by Europol, recovered items include an ancient Mesopotamian crystal seal, a 15th-century bible, and more than a hundred ancient coins. Most of the items were of European provenance, but artefacts from Colombia, Egypt, Morocco, and Iraq were also seized. 

Kamal Boullata (1942–2019) | Palestinian artist and writer Kamal Boullata has died at the age of seventy-seven. Boullata drew on the history of Byzantine and Islamic aesthetics in his geometric, abstract paintings; he was also a prolific writer on Palestinian art.‘To me, the writing and painting itself complete each other like holding something in two hands,’ he said in an interview in 2015.

Aichi Triennale artists sign statement calling for restoration of censorship exhibition | Following the decision by the organisers of the Aichi Triennale to shutter a section of the art fair devoted to censored works, some 70 artists have signed a statement calling for its restoration. The section, named ‘After “Freedom of Expression”?’, was closed due to threats focused on Statue of a Girl of Peace by Korean sculptors Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sun, which depicts a ‘comfort woman,’ representing Koreans coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the Second World War. Signatories emphasise that security measures must be put in place and call for ‘the immediate restoration of the Aichi Triennale 2019’s autonomy from political pressure and intimidation’.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures director resigns | The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures director Kerry Brougher, who has held the post since 2014, has resigned. Brougher’s resignation comes months after the postponement of the Los Angeles museum’s opening date from this year to 2020, the second such delay. Brougher, who previously served as the director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, plans to ‘return to his roots in the art world’, according to a statement from the museum’s board.

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