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Major solo show for Jenny Holzer at Blenheim Palace

Plus: Jewish collector’s heirs file suit over German bank’s Kandinsky | Simon Martin confirmed as director of Pallant House | 30th anniversary commission for Met Museum’s Roof Garden announced | and recommended reading

6 March 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Blenheim Palace chooses Jenny Holzer for next contemporary art show | US artist Jenny Holzer, best known for her large-scale LED light pieces, will be the fourth contemporary artist to transform Oxfordshire’s Blenheim Palace in a major solo exhibition opening later this year, it was announced today. The 18th-century country house has in recent years invited internationally celebrated artists Ai Wei Wei, Lawrence Weiner and Michelangelo Pistoletto to create contemporary installations for the historic site. Discussing her ideas for the exhibition – which will apparently incorporate elements of augmented reality – Holzer has stated that it will explore ‘the complex past and its relevance to this knife-edge present’.

Jewish collector’s heirs file suit over German bank’s Kandinsky | The descendants of Jewish art collector Emanuel Lewenstein, whose family fled the Netherlands before the Nazi invasion in 1940, have filed a suit claiming rightful ownership of a 1907 Wassily Kandinsky painting currently owned by the Bayerische Landesbank (Bavarian State Bank). The Lewenstein family claims that the painting, entitled Das Bunte Leben (‘The Colourful Life’) was sold without their permission in 1940 at a controversial auction house in Amsterdam, where many other looted works were sold. In a statement released by the Bayerische Landesbank, the painting, which is on a long-term loan to the Lenbachhas gallery in Munich, was ‘legally acquired’ in 1972 ‘at the instigation of the city of Munich’.

Simon Martin confirmed as director of Pallant House | Simon Martin, current artistic director and co-director of Pallant House Gallery, has been confirmed as the Chichester gallery’s new solo director. Martin first joined Pallant House in 2002, and was in November 2013 appointed co-director with Marc Steene, who now leaves the role to direct Outside In, a charity promoting inclusive access to the arts.

30th anniversary commission for Met’s Roof Garden announced | Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has been chosen to create this year’s Roof Garden commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Times reports. The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, which opened in 1987, has for the past four summers been the site of an annual large-scale installation by contemporary artists, including last year’s acclaimed haunted house sculpture by British artist Cornelia Parker. Villar Rojas will be the youngest artist, at the age of 36, to take on the commission.

Recommended reading | In this weekend’s Observer, two noted historians – Sir Roy Strong and John Harris – have called for an intensive search for ‘ship-loads’ of British treasures which may have gone missing in the United States when they crossed the Atlantic in the early 20th century. According to Strong, ‘A large proportion of Britain’s art history from the 16th to 18th centuries may be missing.’ Reflecting on more recent developments, meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal’s Eric Gibson offers his opinion on last week’s surprise resignation by Metropolitan Museum of Art director Thomas P. Campbell: ‘This is, first and foremost, a Board failing. The Met’s trustees own this debacle 100%.’

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