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Maria Balshaw expected to be appointed director of Tate

Plus: Major changes announced for Rome’s heritage sites | Garden Bridge trustees say costs likely to ‘substantially exceed’ estimate | Los Angeles chosen to host Lucas Museum of Narrative Art | and Japan recalls ambassador to South Korea over ‘comfort woman’ sculpture

11 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Maria Balshaw reportedly set to be appointed Tate director | The Times (£) reports that the trustees of the Tate group have selected Maria Balshaw as their preferred candidate to replace outgoing director Nicholas Serota. Balshaw’s name has been mooted for several top museum jobs in London after she presided over the redevelopment of Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery, which reopened to great fanfare in 2015. Neither Tate nor Balshaw have confirmed an appointment, which in any case would not be formalised until approved by the Prime Minister, Theresa May. For now, a Tate spokesman says that ‘the process is ongoing‘. Balshaw, who has directed the Whitworth since 2006, as well as the city’s Manchester Art Gallery since 2011, was named Apollo’s ‘personality of the year’ in 2015.

Major changes announced for Rome’s heritage sites | Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini yesterday announced the formation of a ‘Colosseum Archaeological Park’ encompassing the eponymous landmark as well as the nearby Roman forum, the Palatine and the Domus area. According to La Repubblica (Italian language article), the venture will fall under the jurisdiction of a sole director, who will be selected for the post after an international competition. The minister has also announced that by the end of the current parliament, paid ticketing will be introduced at Rome’s Pantheon, a tourist attraction that has hitherto been free.

Garden Bridge trustees say costs likely to ‘substantially exceed’ estimate | The trustees of Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed ‘Garden Bridge’ have warned that the project ‘cannot be guaranteed as a going concern’, reports the Guardian. A series of delays to the construction of the bridge mean that its costs are likely to ‘substantially exceed’ the estimated figure of £185 million. Introducing the trust’s accounts, chairman Mervyn Davies cautioned that trustees may ‘need to consider the future of the project, and in a worse-case scenario, whether the project remains viable’. The Garden Bridge Trust has insisted that it still hopes to begin construction later this year.

Los Angeles chosen to host Lucas Museum of Narrative Art | After months of speculation, film director George Lucas has chosen Los Angeles to be the home of his long planned Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Announcing the decision last night, the proposed museum’s board said that it had chosen LA’s Exposition Park because it would ‘have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship’. Los Angeles was chosen over San Francisco as the location for the museum, which itself was originally planned for Chicago. ‘It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city’, said LA mayor Eric Garcetti.

Japan recalls ambassador to South Korea over ‘comfort woman’ sculpture | The Japanese government has temporarily recalled its ambassador to South Korea in response to a dispute that stems from a sculpture commemorating women forced into sex slavery by Japanese troops in the Second World War. According to the New York Times, the effigy, positioned close to a Japanese diplomatic mission in Busan, has prompted ‘intractable’ debate over historical memories between the two nations. Japan has reportedly also threatened to suspend negotiations over a currency swap due to the dispute.

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