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The week in art news – Met director Max Hollein to take on chief executive role as well

Plus: new appointments at the National Gallery of Ireland and RIBA | Design Miami Paris cancelled amid security fears | Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan museum | Oxford and Cambridge universities agree to give back Benin Bronzes

5 August 2022

Max Hollein, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will take on the additional role of chief executive when Daniel H. Weiss steps down in June next year. The institution’s board of trustees was unanimous on the appointment, with a subcommittee naming Hollein the ‘clear choice’ after four years in post as director; during this time, Hollein has overseen programming while Weiss has been responsible for finances and operations. Major capital projects that Hollein will inherit from Weiss include the $500m renovation of the Modern Wing.

In other appointments – Caroline Campbell, head of collections and research at the National Gallery in London, has been named the next director of the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin; she is the first woman director in the institution’s 158-year history, and takes up the role in November. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has appointed Muyiwa Oki as president; nominated for the role by an informal collective of young architects, Oki is the institution’s first Black president and, at 31, its youngest; he has promised to ensure that RIBA better represents ‘those who feel disenfranchised and under-represented’ over the course of his two-year term. In Washington, D.C., Caitlin Berry has been named the inaugural director of the Miami-based Rubell Museum’s new outpost in Washington, D.C., scheduled to open to the public on 29 October.

The first edition of Design Miami’s new fair in Paris, scheduled for October, has been cancelled. The city’s new police commissioner, Laurent Nunez, refused permission for the fair to be held as planned at the Place de la Concore, citing ‘security problems’. In a statement, Design Miami said that the event will be postponed until 2023.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, visited the National Human Rights Museum in New Taipei City during the one-day trip to Taiwan in which she became the highest-ranking US official to travel to the island since 1997. Pelosi described the museum as ‘a tribute to heroes who suffered & fought for Taiwan’s Democracy’. China has today conducted a second round of military drills in response to Pelosi’s visit, with missiles reportedly crossing Taiwan for the first time. Last Saturday, CNN reported that the National Palace Museum in Taipei had conducted drills, to prepare for safeguarding its vast collections in the event of a Chinese invasion.

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge have agreed to return looted Benin Bronzes in their collection to Nigeria. Both universities have recommended to the UK Charity Commission that legal ownership be transferred to Nigeria; if the commission agrees, it will spell the largest single instance of restitution from the UK to date. There are 97 Benin artefacts in the Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean museums in Oxford, and 116 in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge.

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