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Museums across Italy shuttered until April

Plus: UK arts organisations express dismay at withdrawal from Creative Europe | Alan Turner (1943–2020) | Scientific tests suggest bones in Kent church belong to Anglo Saxon princess | and Armory Show announces prize winners

9 March 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Museums across Italy shuttered until April | Museums and other cultural institutions across Italy will be closed until 3 April, as part of new measures announced by the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on 8 March to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus across the country. The decision encompasses all museums, archaeological sites, libraries and archives, as well as cinemas and museums; in Rome, the much-anticipated quincentennial exhibition on Raphael at the Scuderie del Quirinale has been halted only three days into its run. The minister for culture, Dario Franceschini, has called on broadcasters to schedule further cultural programmes during the closure period and for institutions to reach the public through their websites and social media accounts. James Bradburne, director of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, reflects here on how one museum is responding to the lockdown in the north of Italy, where 16 million people have been quarantined in Lombardy and 14 other provinces.

UK arts organisations express dismay at withdrawal from Creative Europe | More than 680 cultural figures and arts organisations have voiced concerns over the British government’s decision to withdraw from the Creative Europe scheme, in an open letter sent to the UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden. Funded by the European Union – but not restricted to EU member states – the scheme has provided €1.46bn of investment in the creative industries since 2014. The programme is now due to end this December. The letter, which includes the signatures of Fatoş Üstek, the director of the Liverpool Biennial, and Alistair Hudson, the director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery, argues that the government’s decision to end the scheme ‘threatens an impoverished future for British creativity and sends the message that the UK is closing itself off to our nearest neighbours’. Projects whose funding began under the current programme (2014–20) will not be affected by its termination, according to Creative Europe Desk UK.

Alan Turner (1943–2020) | Alan Turner, the New York-based artist known for his portraits of distorted bodies, died on 8 February at the age of 76. Born in the Bronx, Turner studied art at City College and earned a master’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was taught by David Hockney; his first solo show took place in Cologne in 1971, and his first New York show at the Carl Solway Gallery in 1975. The artist’s work is held in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and MoMA, among other institutions.

Scientific tests suggest bones in Kent church belong to Anglo Saxon princess | Initial carbon dating tests have indicated that bones interred in a Kent church could belong to Eanswythe, patron saint of Folkestone, an Anglo Saxon princess of the Kentish royal family and one of the earliest English saints. Eanswythe is believed to have died by 663 in her late teenage years or early 20s; the carbon dating results suggest that the remains are from between 649 and 673 AD. If the findings are confirmed by further DNA testing, the bones will become the earliest example of those belonging to an English saint and the only identified remains of the Anglo Saxon royal family.

Armory Show announces prize winners | The Armory Show in New York has named three prize winners for its 2020 edition. The Night Gallery in Los Angeles has won the $20,000 Pommery Prize for its exhibition of Christine Wang’s ‘Meme Girl’ (2020), while the $10,000 Presents Prize for first-time exhibitors was awarded to Portland gallery Upfor for a solo show of work by Julie Green. The $10,000 Aware Prize for solo presentation by women artists was awarded to June Edmonds, whose politically charged paintings were represented at the fair by Luis De Jesus gallery from Los Angeles.

Lead image: used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY 2.0)

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