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Major Dutch museums drop Shell sponsorship

Plus: German biennale dismantles Erdoğan statue following protests | National Portrait Gallery revises visitor figures after error | Yale’s Peabody Museum gifted $160 million | and  Nancy Chunn wins Artists' Legacy Foundation 2018 Artist Award

29 August 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Major Dutch museums drop Shell sponsorship | The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in The Hague have both ended their long-term partnerships with oil-giant Shell, reports The Art Newspaper. Axel Rüger, the director of the Van Gogh Museum, expressed gratitude for Shell’s 18-year collaboration with the museum, while a spokesperson from the Mauritshuis said their six-year partnership will ‘not be renewed’ despite a recent annual report stating that support from Shell Nederland and two other partners is ‘crucial for the long-term future of the museum’. The decision comes after increasing protests over sponsorship by fossil-free activist groups; earlier this year, protestors smeared oil onto the Van Gogh Museum.

German biennale dismantles Erdoğan statue following protests | Wiesbaden Art Biennale has removed a four-metre-high gold statue depicting the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after it provoked public unrest, reports the Guardian. The statue was erected in the town square in response to the biennale’s slogan ‘Bad News’, and was intended to provoke debate in a country with a significant Turkish population. When the statue was erected, festival director Uwe Eric Laufenberg told Reuters, ‘It is certainly appropriate to conceive of Erdogan as a controversial figure, and one that we are allowed to discuss freely here in this country.’ 

National Portrait Gallery revises visitor figures after error | A drastic decline in the National Portrait Gallery’s visitor numbers has been revealed as a ‘counting error’ due to inaccurate data amassed by the external company Ipsos Retail Performance. The revised figures, calculated thanks to an investigation into the counting system that began in July of this year, show that the NPG received 1,691,547 visitors for the financial year 2017/18 rather than 1,072,377 – a total drop of 10 per cent from last year rather than the 43 per cent based on the original calculation. ‘Faulty equipment’ provided by Ipsos Retail Performance was allegedly the cause of the error according to The Art Newspaper.

Yale’s Peabody Museum gifted $160 million | Yale alumnus and business magnate Edward P. Bass has donated $160 million to Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, which will go towards renovating the museum. Founded in 1866, the museum is home to around 13 million natural, scientific and archaeological objects covering four billion years of history. Speaking to the New York Times about his donation, the financier and philanthropist said that he sees ‘institutions as having the power to transmit and perpetuate a set of fundamental values.’ 

Nancy Chunn wins Artists’ Legacy Foundation 2018 Artist Award | ART News reports that the American painter Nancy Chunn is the winner of the 2018 Artist Award, awarded by the Artists’ Legacy Foundation based in Oakland, California. The annual prize of $25,000 is given to a painter or sculptor for whom ‘evidence of the hand is a significant factor in making art.’

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