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Museum of the Year shortlist announced

29 April 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Competitive shortlist for Museum of the Year award | The Art Fund has announced a shortlist of five institutions for its annual Museum of the Year award. The institutions nominated are Bristol’s Arnolfini, Jupiter Artland in West Lothian, the York Art Gallery and in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the recently opened Bethlem Museum of the Mind. A panel including Cornelia Parker, Ludmilla Jordanova, and Will Gompertz will now decide which institution best deserves the £100,000 prize. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Natural History Museum in July. If you’re unsure which museum to put your money on, investigate the Guardian‘s piece, in which the great and the good – from Grayson Perry to Norman Foster – champion their favourites.

Ai Weiwei to make documentary on refugee crisis | At a press conference in Bern yesterday, Ai Weiwei revealed that his next project will be a documentary about the Mediterranean refugee crisis. The artist says that he has shot some 600 hours of film and conducted hundreds of interviews during his time on the Greek island of Lesbos and at the Greek-Macedonian border. Ai is planning for a 2017 release date.

Labour protests continue at Guggenheim | Following its decision to break off negotiations with the Gulf Labor Organisation over working conditions, New York’s Guggenheim Museum found itself victim to a conspicuous protest stunt by activists on Wednesday night. Activist groups projected phrases on to the building’s facade in order to raise awareness about the debate. ‘This is our way of sending a clear message to the Guggenheim trustees that the cynical marriage of ultra-luxury art and ultra-low wages is null and void,’ said Gulf Labor coalition member Amin Husain.

Wim Delvoye plans museum in Iran | Wim Delvoye is planning to open a gallery in the ancient Iranian city of Kashan, reports The Art Newspaper. The Belgian artist is currently in the process of restoring five mansions to create a 900 sq m space where he will exhibit Iranian and international artists alongside his own work. Ultimately, Delvoye intends to move his entire working operation from Europe to Iran.

Matteo Del Fante announced as new president of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi | Matteo Del Fante has been named as the new president of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, after Lorenzo Bini Smaghi stepped down from his post yesterday after a decade as president of the foundation (Italian language article).

Armory Show to merge contemporary and modern sections | New York’s Armory Show has announced that it is to introduce a number of changes for its 2017 edition, most notably a merging of the contemporary and modern sections. In addition, new curatorial initiatives and a section devoted to themed and solo, two-, or three-person shows will also be introduced.

Recommended reading | Following the fire that destroyed New Delhi’s National Museum of Natural History earlier this week, Sweta Dutta has examined the causes of the tragedy in the Indian Express. According to Dutta, the building was designed as an office block, and was already in a ‘state of neglect’. The disaster is a ‘wake up call for better planning of new museums in the future’. In the Guardian, Mark Brown speaks to sculptor Phyllida Barlow, who goes some way towards explaining her recent success: ‘It’s not that I didn’t want to sell work, it just didn’t occur to me that I was in a position to sell work,’ she says. Elsewhere, self-styled ‘art detective’ Silvano Vinceti has claimed that the Mona Lisa is, at least in part, a portrait of Leonardo’s male lover. To be approached with appropriate scepticism…