Our daily round-up of news from the art world
Jenny Waldman to direct Art Fund | Jenny Waldman has been named the new director of Art Fund, in an announcement made this morning by the charity’s chair Lord Smith of Finsbury. Waldman has since 2013 been the director of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War Centenary. Previously she was creative producer of the London 2012 Festival and, in 2017, she was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list for her services to the arts. Taking up the role on 6 April, Waldman succeeds Stephen Deuchar, who is stepping down after 10 years.
India requests restitution of bronze idol from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum | Indian authorities issued a formal request on Friday for the restitution of a 15th-century bronze idol depicting Saint Tirumankai Alvar from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. An independent scholar has researched the statue’s provenance and believes that it was stolen from the Sri Soundarrajaperumal temple where it had been photographed in 1957, and replaced with a replica. In 1967, the Ashmolean bought the object for around £1,500 at Sotheby’s, which listed it as having belonged to the collector Dr. J.R. Belmont. The unnamed scholar informed the Ashmolean of his discovery in November, and a spokeswoman for the museum says they are still working to verify his claim but are open to repatriation.
FBI repatriates over 479 cultural objects to Haiti | The FBI’s Art Crime Team announced on Friday that they have returned 479 cultural objects to the Republic of Haiti, in the largest ever repatriation of works to the country from the US. The artefacts were among some 7,000 acquired and held, most likely illegally, by the amateur archeologist Donald Miller, whose collection was seized by the FBI from his basement in Waldron, Indiana in 2014.
Billionaire gaming entrepreneur Mark Pincus pledges $3m to James Turrell’s Roden Crater art project | The gaming billionaire Mark Pincus pledged $3m to James Turrell’s land art project Roden Crater at a special party dedicated to the artist by Pace Gallery and Kayne Griffin Corcoran at Frieze Los Angeles on Thursday night. The project, which Turrell has worked on for the past four decades in Arizona’s Painted Desert, sees him converting the centre of a dormant volcano into an immersive observatory. The work’s opening has tentatively been set for 2024.