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Maurice Berger (1956–2020)

Plus: Hong Kong museums close again after second wave of coronavirus | Arts Council England announces £160m emergency funding boost | MOCA LA lays off all part-time staff | and thieves arrested for stealing stones from Notre-Dame

25 March 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Maurice Berger (1956–2020) | The writer and curator Maurice Berger has died at the age of 63, from complications brought on by Covid-19. Berger was one of the earliest critics to focus on institutional racism in the art world, in particular with his seminal essay, ‘Are Art Museums Racist?’, published in Art in America in 1990. He curated numerous exhibitions, including ‘White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art’ (2000) at the University of Maryland’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, where he served as research professor and chief curator from 1992 until his death, as well as at the Jewish Museum in New York. His books include White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness (2003).

Hong Kong museums close again after second wave of coronavirus | Museums in Hong Kong that had reopened earlier this month have now closed again, after a second outbreak of coronavirus in the region. The number of cases of the disease, which hit Hong Kong in January, had begun to fall by the beginning of March, leading institutions such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art to reopen. Between 16–23 March, however, confirmed cases doubled from 157 to 317, leading officials to reintroduce social distancing measures.

Arts Council England announces £160m emergency funding boost | Arts Council England has announced that it will provide a relief package of £160m in response to the coronavirus crisis. The package will be divided between cultural organisations, freelance workers and artists, and is intended both to help those affected by the pandemic stay afloat and to enable new arts projects to take place during the crisis.

MOCA LA lays off all part-time staff | The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, closed indefinitely by the coronavirus outbreak, has laid off all 97 of its part-time employees. The museum has stated that it hopes the lay-offs are temporary and that when the museum reopens it will be able to take back all staff members.

Thieves arrested for stealing stones from Notre-Dame | Two thieves have been arrested in Paris for removing stones from Notre-Dame cathedral. They were apprehended on Tuesday 22 March, the evening after the French government announced stricter confinement measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.