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Italy to donate takings from state museums to earthquake victims

Plus: Earthquake in Burma damages scores of pagodas | Around 70 per cent of artefacts recovered in Syria and Lebanon are fakes, says antiquities chief | Tessa Giblin named director of Talbot Rice Gallery | and Steve McQueen awarded BFI fellowship

25 August 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Italy earthquakes: takings from state museums to be channelled to affected regions | Following the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that shook central Italy on Wednesday, culture minister Dario Franceschini has pledged to donate the proceeds from ticket sales at Italian museums on 28 August to victims in the affected areas. According to the BBC, the quake has claimed nearly 250 lives, a toll that is expected to rise in the coming days. Experts fear that many historic funeral monuments, museums and churches may have been irreparably damaged. Sites known to have been touched by the disaster include the 12th century Basilica of Norcia and the many churches and palaces of Amatrice, which was among the worst hit localities. Franceschini has urged all Italians to rally to their country’s museums in a demonstration of solidarity with those in the worst hit areas.

Earthquake in Burma damages scores of pagodas | An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale near the major tourist attraction of Bagan, Burma, has claimed at least three lives and caused damage to a large number of Buddhist pagodas. State media reports that some 185 brick pagodas in the vicinity have been affected. ‘Most of the reports of damage have been to the pagodas in the area with dozens impacted,’ said locally-based Save the Children worker Vincent Panzani.

Around 70 per cent of artefacts recovered in Syria and Lebanon are fakes, says antiquities chief | In an interview with The Art Newspaper, Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim has claimed that the majority of artefacts recovered from smugglers in Syria and Lebanon in the past year are of dubious provenance. According to Abdulkarim, around 7,000 items have been recovered since 2013, but the proportion of fakes among them has risen from 30 per cent to around 70 per cent. He also gave a positive analysis of the situation in the ancient city of Palmyra, which Syrian and Russian forces recaptured from ISIS earlier this year. ‘I can confirm that more than 90 per cent of the collection in Palmyra is safe; 10 per cent is damaged’, he told TAN. ‘We didn’t lose Palmyra’s art’.

Tessa Giblin named director of Talbot Rice Gallery | Tessa Giblin, currently a curator at the Dublin’s Project Arts Centre, is to take over as director at the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery. Giblin succeeds Pat Fisher in the post, which the latter has occupied for more than a decade. ‘I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to lead the Talbot Rice Gallery,’ Giblin said in a statement. ‘This rich academic and artistic environment will define the character of our exhibitions program, continuing Talbot Rice Gallery’s long history of working with contemporary art and collections.’

Steve McQueen awarded BFI fellowship | Turner Prize-winning artist and film director Steve McQueen has been awarded this year’s British Film Institute fellowship, becoming the youngest director ever to receive the accolade. ‘I first walked into the BFI library and cinema 28 years ago,’ says McQueen. ‘To think that I will now be a fellow and honorary member, with such a distinguished list of people, is mind-blowing. I’m humbly honoured.’ (For a review of McQueen’s short film, Ashes, click here.)

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