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Museum of Fascism planned for Mussolini’s birthplace

18 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Could a Museum of Fascism be on the Cards in Mussolini’s Birthplace? | The mayor of Predappio in Emilia-Romagna has caused controversy with plans for a research centre and museum devoted to the town’s most infamous son: Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. (Italian language article.) ‘In Italy we tend to associate the term museum to some form of celebration, but our project by no means intends to celebrate fascism or Mussolini,’ mayor Giorgio Frassineti told CNN, insisting that the project would be a sober examination of the history of Fascism. Although he insists on calling it a ‘research and documentation centre’ rather than a ‘museum’, it will host permanent and temporary exhibitions. Unsurprisingly, voices have been raised in opposition to the initiative: Predappio is something of a pilgrimage site for members of Italy’s extreme right, and there are fears that a museum devoted to the dictator would only serve to inflame tensions. Frassineti wants the initiative to change public attitudes: as he sees it, Mussolini’s birthplace is currently a ‘symbol of a country that does not want to confront its history.’

Dennis Morris Accuses Elizabeth Peyton of Copyright Infringement | Photographer Dennis Morris has claimed that a 1994 Elizabeth Peyton painting infringes the copyright on a 1977 image he took of the Sex Pistols’ John Lydon. According to The Art Newspaper, Morris is now considering legal action over the work, which was withdrawn from Sotheby’s contemporary art day sale on 11 February ‘at the request of the consigner.’ The dispute brings to mind the case of Luc Tuymans’s A Belgian Politician (2011), a work based on a press image that saw the artist settling out of court in an ‘amicable’ agreement with photographer Katrijn Van Giel.

Recommended Reading: Robert Hewison on the UK Government’s Culture White Paper | In The Art Newspaper, cultural historian Robert Hewison has spoken to UK culture minister Ed Vaizey about his plans for a new White Paper on the arts – the first such policy proposal since 1965. ‘Place-making’ (or, as Vaizey, puts it, ‘a policy-wonky way of trying to join up the dots between government departments’) will be the paper’s theme, and the minister stresses that he is ‘fed up with the arts being an afterthought.’

Rumours of Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery Reopening Scotched | Hopes have been tempered in Egypt, following reports that staff at Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery were now back at work after the contemporary art space was closed down by the authorities back in December. However, according to director William Wells, the not-for-profit gallery remains closed to the public. On a brighter – if tentative – note, Townhouse staff have resumed work on the space’s future programme.

Richard Wilson to Curate RA Summer Exhibition | Sculptor Richard Wilson has been named as coordinator of the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition. Wilson is an interesting choice for the show, which is often criticised for its incoherence and a perceived lack of risk. Following Michael Craig-Martin’s positively received effort last year, it seems the RA is determined not to play it safe. Watch this space for further details – this could get interesting…