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Met will no longer accept money from Sacklers with Purdue Pharma ties

Plus: Czech culture minister resigns | David Attenborough honoured at Museums + Heritage Award | $91m Jeff Koons sculpture sale breaks records | Lutz Bacher (1943–2019)

16 May 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Met will no longer accept money from Sackler family members with Purdue Pharma ties | The New York Times reports that the Metropolitan Museum of Art will no longer accept donations from the members of the Sackler family currently connected with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Purdue Pharma is currently under scrutiny regarding its possible role in the opioid crisis in the United States. The museum joins the Guggenheim in New York and the Tate in London, among other institutions, in announcing its intention to no longer accept Sackler funds.

Czech culture minister resigns | Antonin Stanek, culture minister for the Czech Republic, has resigned following outcry over his firing of Jiri Fajt, the director of Prague’s National Gallery. Fajt and Michal Sokup, the head of the Museum of Art in Olomouc, were fired in April; protestors claim that the dismissals were politically motivated. ‘I tried to change the gallery into a platform for critical thinking and artistic freedom,’ Fajt has said. ‘I have always faced occasional attacks, but I never expected anything like this to happen.’

David Attenborough honoured at Museums + Heritage Awards | At their 17th annual ceremony, Museums + Heritage Awards presented a Special Recognition Award to David Attenborough, who said in a prerecorded statement that he was ‘truly delighted’ by the accolade. The Being Brunel museum in Bristol won Permanent Exhibition of the year, and The Museum of English Rural life was praised for its viral ‘Absolute Unit’ tweets.

$91m Jeff Koons sculpture sale breaks records | At the Christie’s post-war and contemporary sale Wednesday evening, Jeff Koons’ 1986 stainless steel Rabbit sculpture sold for $91.1m, the highest price at auction to date for a work made by a living artist. The night of auctions totalled $539m in sales.

Lutz Bacher (1943–2019) | Lutz Bacher, the mysterious, pseudonymous Conceptualist artist, has died at the age of 75. Bacher – who declined most interviews and kept her identity hidden – worked across media including photography, video, drawing, sculpture, and performance to examine the workings of power and masculinity. Her work is has been collected by many museums, including MoMA and SFMOMA.

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