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Gainsborough’s House museum awarded £4.5m lottery grant

Plus: Curator sues MoMA PS1 for rescinding employment offer after discovering she had a baby | Blue plaque honouring Bauhaus figures unveiled at London’s Isokon building | and recommended reading

9 July 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Gainsborough’s House museum awarded £4.5m lottery grant | Gainsborough’s House, the Suffolk birthplace of artist Thomas Gainsborough, has been awarded a £4.5m lottery grant, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced on Friday. The Grade I-listed building was converted into a museum dedicated to the life and art of Gainsborough in 1961. The grant will be used to build a cafe to overlook the garden where Gainsborough played as a child and renovate the gallery spaces for the museum’s permanent collection and loan exhibitions. A new high-windowed space will give panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, familiar from the works of both Gainsborough and Constable.

Curator sues MoMA PS1 for rescinding employment offer after learning she had a baby | The curator Nikki Columbus has filed a lawsuit against MoMA PS1, the New York Times reports. After months of discussion with the museum’s chief curator Peter Eleey and the director Klaus Biesenbach, Columbus was offered a position as curator of performance in August 2017. While negotiating the terms of her employment she explained that she was recovering from having recently had a baby. A few days later she was informed by the museum that they were  ‘unable to tailor the positions on the terms [she had] proposed’. The museum claimed to have understood her hesitation over the proposed salary and schedule as a rejection of the job offer. Columbus looked to nonprofit organisation A Better Balance for legal advice and says she was inspired to take action by the #MeToo movement.

Blue plaque honouring Bauhaus artists unveiled at London’s Isokon building | An English Heritage blue plaque honouring the Bauhaus figures Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy was today unveiled at the Isokon building in Belsize Park. All three men lived in the Grade I-listed block of flats for a short period after fleeing the rise of Nazism in mainland Europe. Chairman of the Isokon Gallery Trust, John Allan, is pleased that the plaque will bring ‘further recognition to the building that was briefly their home and refuge’.

Recommended reading | In The Guardian, Dale Berning Sawa speaks to Thierry Oussou about staging a fake archaeological dig to make a statement about the colonial looting of African art. In The Art Newspaper, Jane Morris speaks to Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward Gallery, about artist-led curatorial strategies that leave work open to interpretation by audiences and his recent appointment as the artistic director of the Venice Biennale 2019.