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The week in art news – Germano Celant (1940–2020)

1 May 2020

On Monday it was announced that the artist Zarina Hashmi (1937–2020) had died in London at the age of 83 after a long illness. After a first degree in mathematics from Aligarh Muslim University, the printmaker, who preferred to be known by her first name, studied at Stanley Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris in the mid 1960s and moved to New York in 1975. Her best-known work is Home is a Foreign Place (1999), a series of 36 woodblock prints reflecting her frequent moves around the world. She represented India at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and had a retrospective at the Hammer Museum, the Guggenheim and Art Institute of Chicago.

On Tuesday, as part of an easing of lockdown restrictions, it was announced that Italian museums will start to reopen on 18 May. The Italian cultural ministry has published safety guidelines which require all tickets to be purchased online and ask for social-distancing measures to implemented. Museums in Belgium will also reopen from 18 May in the second part of the country’s lifting of restrictions. In Switzerland, the Kunsthaus Zürich will open on 15 May. In France some commercial galleries and smaller institutions are planning to reopen after 11 May, but there have been no announcements yet regarding institutions that draw much larger crowds.

Also on Tuesday, the San Francisco Art Institute announced that was looking for a new business model that it would allow it to remain open. The statement comes a month after the 149-year-old art school (for a time known as the California School of Fine Arts) first revealed that it would suspend all its academic degree programmes after the summer and close indefinitely. The institution has said it intends to offer studio art classes and public programmes while it looks for new partners.

On Wednesday, the influential curator, critic and art historian Germano Celant (1940–2020) died in Milan at the age of 80. In 1967, Celant curated a group show of artists working with humble materials that included Alghiero Boetti and Jannis Kounellis. ‘Arte Povera: Im Spazio’ at Galleria La Bertesca in Genoa put a name to a new movement and Celant’s subsequent book titled Arte Povera was published two years later. Celant was the author of more than 200 publications and was the artistic director of the Fondazione Prada from 1995 until 2014, and its scientific superintendent from 2015 until his death.

On Thursday, it was reported that the Mobilier national is drawing up a list of around 100 items of antique furniture that would be sold at auction in September to support a foundation for French hospitals. Hervé Lemoine, director of the state agency, told Le Figaro that only items without heritage value would be decommissioned in this way.

On Friday, the Art Newspaper reported that the opening of a private museum in Moscow funded by the Russian billionaire Leonid Mikhelson, has been pushed back to March 2021. The GES-2 arts centre, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, was due to open this September with an inaugural exhibition created by Ragnar Kjartansson.