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Hans Ulrich Obrist tops art world power list

Plus: Stolen artefacts ‘gushing’ out of Libya, experts warn | ‘Gigantic’ jade stone discovered in Burma | Southend resumes hunt for Thames Estuary Museum architect | Michael Bloomberg donates $50 million to Boston’s Museum of Science | and UK local authorities encouraged to give museums greater independence online

20 October 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Hans Ulrich Obrist tops ArtReview’s ‘Power 100’ list | Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries, has topped ArtReview magazine’s annual ‘Power 100’ list for the second time. Obrist, who previously occupied the top spot in 2009, is followed in the ranking by Polish curator Adam Szymczyk and Iwan and Manuela Wirth. Other inclusions in the top 10 include Wolfgang Tillmans (9th), Hito Steyerl (7th), Nicholas Serota and Frances Morris (joint 5th) and previous list-leader Ai Weiwei (10th). ArtReview deputy editor Oliver Basciano attributed Obrist’s position in the list to ‘his energy and the fact that he connects so many people; he’s everywhere.’

Stolen artefacts ‘gushing’ out of Libya, experts warn | In an interview with The Art Newspaper, Libyan archaeologist Ramadan Shebani warned that the looting and subsequent trafficking of ancient artefacts is ‘impossible to monitor’ in the war-torn country. Though experts have been attempting to work with often powerless local authorities to prevent widescale looting, multiple factors have made it increasingly difficult to prevent illicit trade. For more on Libya’s ancient heritage, click here.

‘Gigantic’ jade stone discovered in Burma | Miners in Kachin state, Burma, have discovered an enormous jade stone weighing 175 tonnes and measuring 4.3m by 5.8m. Though not the largest jade ever discovered, the stone is valued at a reported $170 million. According to the Daily Mail, it will be shipped to China, where it is likely to be carved into ornaments. (Watch out for an essay on the role of jade in Chinese history in the upcoming November issue of Apollo.)

Southend-on-Sea resumes hunt for Thames Estuary Museum architect | Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has resumed its search for an architect to work on a major new museum, reports the Architects’ Journal (£). Two months ago, the council junked an earlier appeal so that it could refine its criteria. The council has invited practices to ‘tweak’ and deliver an existing plan for the proposed £40 million Thames Estuary Museum by AEW. When complete, the museum will feature exhibits including relics from Southend’s royal Saxon tomb and items from the shipwreck of the London, says the AJ.

Michael Bloomberg donates $50 million to Boston’s Museum of Science | Former New York mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has granted the Museum of Science in Boston the largest donation in its 186-year history, reports the New York Times. The donation, which totals $50 million, will be used to support the museum’s education centre and its computer and food science programmes. Bloomberg told the NYT that he hoped the gift would inspire others across the country. ‘We are defunding research, and it’s a catastrophe for America,’ he said.

UK local authorities encouraged to give museums greater independence online | UK culture minister Matt Hancock has urged local councils to allow museums under their jurisdiction greater independence over their digital communications. According to the Museums Association, centralised control of local authority museums means that they are ‘failing to reach their potential and ill-equipped for a world in which digital access to collections and museum activities is increasingly the norm’.

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