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Morgan Library & Museum announces $12.5m exterior restoration project

Plus: Junya Ishigami to design Serpentine Pavilion 2019 | Christie’s helps return eight looted antiquities to Italy | Bisi Silva (1962–2019) | and fire breaks out at empty Northampton Museum & Art Gallery

14 February 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Morgan Library announces $12.5m restoration project | The Morgan Library & Museum in New York today announced plans for an exterior restoration of the neoclassical building housing J. Pierpoint Morgan’s library, which was completed in 1906 by McKim, Mead & White. The $12.5m project will be the first time the exterior has been preserved; the interiors were restored in 2010. Work begins this month, and is projected to be completed by autumn 2020; the library will remain open to visitors during this time. 

Junya Ishigami to design Serpentine Pavilion 2019 | The Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has been selected to design this year’s Serpentine Pavilion. The pavilion will comprise a grey slate roof, which Ishigami describes as looking like ‘a hill made out of rocks’. It will be the 19th design for the annual summer commission. 

Christie’s helps return eight looted antiquities to Italy | CNN reports that Christie’s has facilitated the return of eight looted antiquities to Italy. The objects, which include a fragment from a sarcophagus in the Catacombs of St Callixtus in Rome and an Etruscan terracotta mask thought to date from the 5th century BC, were voluntarily returned by their owners, who consigned them to Christie’s; the auction house said in a statement the works had been ‘acquired in the past in good faith’. They were returned on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Italian embassy in London.

Bisi Silva (1962–2019) | The Nigerian curator Bisi Silva, who founded the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Lagos in 2007, has died at the age of 57. CAA is Lagos’s first non-profit platform for the arts and includes a library for research and the Àsìkò International Art School. Silva was also on the international jury for the Venice Biennale in 2013.

Fire breaks out at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery | A fire broke out on the second floor at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery yesterday evening. The museum is currently closed for refurbishment and expansion and had been emptied of its permanent collection. Firefighters were called to the scene and prevented the blaze from spreading.