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Italy allocates €1 billion towards heritage sites

4 May 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Italy earmarks €1 billion towards cultural heritage sites | The Italian government has announced its decision to allocate more than €1 billion to the conservation and restoration of heritage sites across the country, with the majority earmarked for the Naples-Campania region. As culture minister Dario Franceschini has made clear, this is the largest heritage funding boost in Italian history – and with major tourism attractions including Pompeii in serious need of sensitive restoration, it is an urgently needed stimulus. Other sites due to benefit from the funding including the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, archaeological sites at Paestum and Herculaneum, and the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.

Iranian artist released from prison | Iranian authorities have released artist Atena Farghadani from prison after a court of appeals reduced the 12-year sentence she received last June to 18 months. Farghadani was arrested in August 2014 after drawing cartoons that satirised recently introduced laws on sterilisation and contraception. In February 2015, she suffered a heart attack after going on hunger strike. Farghadani has stated that she plans to remain in Iran and continue working as an artist.

Kurt Schwitters’s Merzbarn granted £25,000 ‘lifeline’ | After suffering considerable damage as a result of the storms that hit North West England earlier this year, Kurt Schwitters’s ‘Merzbarn’ at Elterwater, Cumbria, has been granted crucial funding from a Swiss art gallery. The Zurich based Galerie Gmurzynska has allocated £25,000 to go towards restoring the structure, reportedly on the advice of the late Zaha Hadid. Should everything go to plan, it is hoped that emergency repairs will be complete by the end of July.

Istanbul’s Moving Image fair cancelled | The organisers of Istanbul’s Moving Image fair have announced that plans to stage the event this autumn have been called off, reports The Art Newspaper. Co-founders Edward Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov have stated that the cancellation of the event this year is a direct result of the Istanbul-based Art International Fair’s decision to postpone its 2016 edition. It now seems that both fairs will be put on hold until next year.

Recommended reading | The New York Times carries a report on a Maryland high school that has maintained a pioneering arts education programme in the face of budget cuts and cripplingly low expectations. Meanwhile in The Art Newspaper, Giles Waterfield reflects on the ‘strange and illogical’ development of the UK’s national collections. As he sees it, the National Gallery should follow the example of Tate Modern and start to look beyond Europe with its permanent displays. Tate Modern itself comes under scrutiny in the British press today, as its new Mona Hatoum retrospective divides the critics. In the Daily Telegraph, Mark Hudson praises the exhibition, saying that it tells us much about ‘what it is to be human in the world today’. The Guardians Adrian Searle is not so sure, though. ‘She is inconsistent,’ says Searle, ‘but who isn’t?’