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Indian jewels stolen from exhibition at Venice’s Palazzo Ducale

Plus: Met museum will charge admission for out-of-state visitors | Thomas Roma is accused of sexual misconduct | Massachusetts AGO’s Berkshire Museum inquiry will be done by end of January | UCLA art department appoints Andrea Fraser as chair | and National Museums Liverpool director retires

4 January 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Indian jewels stolen from exhibition at Venice’s Palazzo Ducale | Several items of Indian jewellery from the collection of a member of the Al Thani ruling family of Qatar have been stolen from an exhibition at Venice’s Palazzo Ducale, reports the Guardian. The exhibition, ‘Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs’, was on the final day of its four-month run yesterday morning when thieves seized a set of earrings and a brooch from a reinforced display case, after apparently managing to deactivate the alarm system. Although some of the more contemporary and less valuable pieces on display, the jewels, made of gold, platinum and diamonds, are reportedly worth millions of euros. A spokesman for the Al Thani family says that it is cooperating with Italian authorities and Venice’s Foundation for Civic Museums in order to recover the pieces.

Met museum will charge admission for out-of-state visitors | The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York today announced a change to its policy, in place for the past 50 years, of allowing visitors to pay what they wish for admission. Unless able to provide proof of residence in the state of New York, or if studying in Connecticut or New Jersey, visitors will be required to pay a mandatory $25 fee as of the beginning of March. The updated policy comes following a period of financial difficulty for the institution, which hopes that the change will increase its annual admission fee revenue by around $49 million.

Thomas Roma is accused of sexual misconduct | Thomas Roma, a documentary photographer and professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, has been accused of sexual misconduct by five women, reports the New York Times. According to the report, the accusations centre on events that mostly took place in the late 1990s, while the women were students at either Columbia or the School of Visual Arts. Lawyers speaking on behalf of Roma have said that he is ‘shocked’ by the claims, and say that they are ‘replete with inaccuracies and falsehoods’. A spokesperson for the university has since announced Roma’s voluntary resignation from the School of the Arts, effective immediately.

Massachusetts AGO’s Berkshire Museum inquiry will be done by end of January | The office of the Massachusetts Attorney General has filed a progress report that says it is on course to complete, by 29 January, its investigation into the Berkshire Museum’s controversial plan to sell off parts of its collection. 29 January is also the date that the temporary injunction currently preventing the sales from going ahead, renewed once already, is due to expire. According to the Berkshire Eagle, the AGO says that it has reviewed hundreds of documents and conducted interviews with museum officials. More interviews, including one with director Van Shields, are set to take place in the coming weeks. When complete, the report will determine whether a number of cases brought in an attempt to halt the sale can proceed to trial.

UCLA art department appoints Andrea Fraser as chair | Artist and art professor Andrea Fraser is the new chair of UCLA’s Department of Art, it was announced yesterday. Fraser works across a range of media as an artist, most notably within the field of institutional critique, and she has written numerous essays on the topic. She replaces artist Hirsch Perlman, who had been in the role within the university’s School of the Arts and Architecture since 2013.

David Fleming will retire from National Museums Liverpool | David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, is to step down from his position at the end of March. Fleming joined NML in 2001, and has also served as the president of the Museums Association since 2015. His resignation from the Liverpool position coincides with the end of his second term at the MA. He is to take up a professorial position at Liverpool’s Hope University following his retirement.

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