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Guggenheim breaks off negotiations with labour activists

Plus: Roman villa unearthed in Wiltshire garden | Richard Smith (1931–2016) | Recommended reading

18 April 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Guggenheim breaks off negotiations with Gulf Labor activists | The Guggenheim board of trustees has ceased talks with the Gulf Labor Coalition over conditions for workers at the museum’s branch in Abu Dhabi. In the past year, GLC activists have staged protests at Guggenheim outposts around the world and Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim museum and foundation, has written an open letter describing the organisation’s demands as ‘unfair’ and ‘convenient for publicity purposes.’

Roman villa unearthed in Wiltshire garden | Archaeologists believe that they have made an ‘unparalleled’ discovery in the garden of a Wiltshire country house, after the property’s owner found some buried ruins while laying electricity cables. Officials from Historic England believe that the ‘extraordinarily well preserved’ ruins may have formed the structure of one of the largest Roman villas ever discovered in Britain. Yesterday, the classicist Mary Beard took to social media to caution against jumping to conclusions over the discovery.

Richard Smith (1931–2016) | Artist Richard Smith has died in New York aged 84. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Smith rose to prominence in the 1960s with his take on Op-Art, and represented Britain at the 1970 Venice Biennale. Art historian Marco Livingstone has praised Smith’s ‘joyful embrace of glamour and prismatic colour’, and pointed to his important place in 20th-century British painting.

Recommended reading | The Art Newspaper has published an interview with former Knoedler Gallery director Ann Freedman, in which she discusses for the first time the scandal that led to the gallery’s closure. Meanwhile, The Sunday Times has trailed a Dispatches programme to be broadcast in the UK on Channel 4. The programme will reveal discoveries made by two academics who posed as collectors to search for allegedly trafficked artefacts at a London antiques dealership.

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