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Art News Daily

Gormley hits back at Brexit campaigners

Plus: Possible reprieve for threatened Lancashire museums | Mellon Foundation sets National Gallery of Art a $30 million challenge | Date announced for the Design Museum’s move

18 March 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Gormley angered by Angel of the North Brexit stunt | Lawyers representing Antony Gormley have complained to the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign after members of the Eurosceptic organisation projected its logo on to his Angel of North sculpture outside Gateshead. Last week, activists linked to the group beamed a message reading ‘VOTE LEAVE TAKE CONTROL’ on to the work, which Gormley believes may be interpreted as a personal endorsement – a ‘false’ one, as his solicitors make clear in their letter. Gormley has yet to comment on the matter himself, but is ‘discussing further action with his legal team’, according to the Times (£). Meanwhile, representatives from Gateshead Council have been quick to support the artist’s protest, describing Vote Leave’s ‘misuse’ of the sculpture as ‘disappointing’. ‘It’s also somewhat ironic that both the Angel of the North and BALTIC actually benefited from European Regional Development Funding, along with many other important projects in Gateshead,’ a spokesperson added.

Possible reprieve for Lancashire museums threatened with closure | Lancashire County Council has agreed to accord a stay of execution to five museums previously threatened by imminent closure. The council announced it was to cut funding for Queen Street Mill, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Museum of Lancashire, Judges’ Lodgings, and Fleetwood Museum after being forced to make £65 million in savings over the next two years. However, it has now agreed to keep all five museums open until the end of September to allow time for discussion with local groups interested in taking over the institutions. For a good overview of the wider problems regional museums in the UK are facing, see the Independent’s report from last weekend.

Mellon Foundation awards National Gallery of Art $30 million challenge grant | The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given Washington’s National Gallery of Art a ‘challenge grant’ of $30 million, reports the Washington Post. This is no normal grant, though. The museum will receive an initial $15 million from the Foundation, but the rest of the money is conditional: to receive the remaining $15 million, the NGA must match the initial sum with $45 million in private donations within five years. Director Earl A. ‘Rusty’ Powell has said he is confident that the museum can achieve the goal: from 2011 to 2015, it brought in $121 million in private donations, with $22 million raised last year alone.

Date announced for Design Museum move | After years of refurbishment work, the scaffolding is off and the Design Museum has announced a date for the opening of its new £83 million home in west London. The building, a 1960s modernist structure that once housed the Commonwealth Institute, has been undergoing an interior renovation that will increase its exhibition space threefold. It was originally slated to open in 2014, but the opening has been repeatedly pushed back due to ‘complex engineering challenges’. The museum is now scheduled to open its doors on 24 November. Let’s hope it’s the last time we need to save the date.

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