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Gregor Muir takes charge of Tate’s international art collection

Plus: Pyotr Pavlensky released from custody | Police investigate multiple church thefts in Doubs | Manhattan street renamed in honour of Norman Rockwell | and recommended reading

9 June 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Gregor Muir appointed director of Tate’s international art collection | The Tate has announced that ICA director Gregor Muir is to oversee its international collection. Muir, a much liked figure in the British art world, is no stranger to the Tate: from 2001 to 2004, he worked there as the Kramlich curator of contemporary art. Muir is known for his close relationship with the YBA artists, and in 2009 published Lucky Kunst: The Story of YBA, a memoir of the British art scene in the 1990s. Having directed the ICA since 2011, he will replace current Tate Modern director Frances Morris in the international collections job.

Pyotr Pavlensky released from custody | Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky, who was arrested last year after setting fire to the doors of the Federal Security Service headquarters in Moscow, has been released from police custody. According to The Art Newspaper, a Moscow court has ordered Pavlensky to pay a fine of 500,000 roubles ($15,400) for damaging a ‘cultural heritage’ site, as well as a further 481,000 roubles in order to replace the door. Pavlensky has flatly refused to pay up: ‘Even if I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t pay the fine,’ he told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.

Police investigate multiple church thefts in Doubs | Multiple works of religious art have been stolen from three churches in France’s Doubs region, reports Le Figaro. (French language article.) In the most recent theft, which occurred at the end of May, 14 19th-century paintings representing Christ’s path to Calvary were stripped from a church in Longechaux, near Besançon. The local Gendarmerie believes the thefts are linked, and has called on the public for information.

Manhattan street renamed in honour of Norman Rockwell | West 103rd Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side has been renamed after the American artist Norman Rockwell, who was born there. According to the New York Times, the change of name comes after students from a nearby alternative high school launched a campaign to honour the local hero, whose divisively wholesome paintings have become shorthand for a mid 20th-century ideal of American life.

Recommended reading | As the art world readies itself for Art Basel next week, the New York Times has spoken to dealer Dominique Lévy about her preparations for the event. ‘Basel is the fair where I’ve lost the most sleep,’ she tells Robin Pogrebin in the immensely quotable interview. In London, the verdict is in on this year’s Serpentine Pavilion commission. The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright thinks it provides ‘gawp-factor by the bucketload’, while Disegno’s Joe Lloyd is more circumspect, writing that from certain perspectives, it ‘can even feel a little humdrum.’ Meanwhile in the French press, Le Monde has further details on the arrest of seven suspects in connection with the theft of five paintings by Francis Bacon in Madrid. (French language article.) The heist is ‘undoubtedly one of the most significant thefts of contemporary paintings in Europe in recent years,’ says Madrid correspondent Sandrine Morel.

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