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Impending closure for many UK regional museums

8 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

UK Regional Museums: Cuts Start to Bite | In yesterday’s Observer, Vanessa Thorpe expands on last week’s news from Bradford’s National Media Museum, giving a succinct round-up of regional institutions facing tough times and, in some cases, imminent closure. In Nottinghamshire, the property housing the D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre has been put up for let. In West Yorkshire, councils are considering the closure of the Tolson Museum, Oakwell Hall, Red House Museum, Bagshaw Museum and Dewsbury Museum. Worst hit of all is Lancashire, where spending on museums is to fall from £1.3 million to less than £100,000. Five museums are set to close in the county by the end of next month. Thorpe’s article highlights further losses – almost all of which affect the north of the country.

MPs Protest V&A Move for NMM Photography Collection | As for Bradford itself, two MPs have protested against plans to move 400,000 objects from the Royal Photographic Society’s collection from the National Media Museum to London’s V&A, criticising the NMM’s trustees for their failure to consult people in Bradford. ‘Not a single person on the board of trustees has links to Bradford, or indeed the wider region,’ said Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, ‘we cannot have decisions about our city and our region being made by the “great and the good” in London’. A Conservative councillor, Simon Cooke, has written to the V&A describing the transfer as a ‘cultural rape.’ (£)

Knoedler Trial: Ann Freedman Settles with De Soles | Collectors Domenico and Eleanor De Sole have settled their lawsuit with former Knoedler president Ann Freedman over an $8.3 million Mark Rothko forgery they bought from the dealership in 2004. The De Soles, who believed they had knowingly been sold a fake, were seeking $25 million from Freedman and Knoedler & co. Freedman’s lawyers have insisted that she too was fooled by this and other works, which were bought to Knoedler by disgraced Long Island dealer Glafira Rosales over a 15 year period. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Collection of over 500 Artefacts Repatriated to Ecuador | In a ceremony in Quito last week, Ecuador’s minister of Knowledge and Human Talent Guillaume Long announced that Argentina and Spain have handed back 567 cultural artefacts to the country’s government. Most of the objects in question date from colonial times, and many will be shown at national museums in due course. The negotiations were overseen by Ecuador’s National Commission for the Fight Against Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property, which was founded in 2010 and has since negotiated the return of nearly 7,000 objects.

This weekend’s best art comment | In The Sunday Times, Waldemar Januszczak ridiculed outré theories about Bosch’s artistic vision (Vasari fans, look away). (£) The Times ran an interview with Rizvan Rahman, who was jailed after selling £180,000 worth of fakes, but has now found some success flogging his own paintings. (£) In the Observer, Viv Groskop spoke to Hermitage Museum Director Mikhail Piotrovsky about censorship, Anglo-Russian relations, and the BBC’s adaptation of War & Peace, while Le Monde profiled Marina Abramovic’s sometime artistic partner and ex-lover Ulay. (French language article.)