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National Gallery, British Museum and Royal Academy temporarily close

18 March 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

National Gallery, British Museum and Royal Academy temporarily close | The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, British Museum and Royal Academy of Arts are the latest major London museums to announce they are closing temporarily to contain the spread of coronavirus. Citing the advice of Public Health England, the National Gallery is shut from tomorrow until 4 May (provisionally), while the National Portrait Gallery, British Museum and Royal Academy have already closed their doors until further notice. Regional museums to close include the BALTIC in Gateshead, the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge, the Ashmolean in Oxford and the National Galleries Scotland. All staffed sites overseen by English Heritage are closing this evening until 1 May and all public events have been cancelled. The National Trust aims to keep open any parks or gardens with adequate space for social distancing, but will have closed all houses, shops and cafes by the end of this week. 

Online auction house Paddle8 files for bankruptcy | The online auction house Paddle8 has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York. The filing’s creditor list reveals sums of $73,000 owed to Justin and Haley Beiber, $65,000 to Jay Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation and $100,000 to the Rema Hort Mann Foundation. The auction house was sued last week by the nonprofit New American Cinema Group, which alleges that Paddle8 has withheld the proceeds from a charity auction held on its behalf in November.

Art Basel launches online viewing rooms | The Art Basel online viewing rooms have opened to VIP members. Developed over a long period of time, the rooms are being launched ahead of schedule due to the forced cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong and will feature 234 of the fair’s original exhibitors. Participating galleries are expected to list selling prices or price ranges for every work. The digital platform opens to the public on 20 March. The 14th edition of Art Dubai, which has been postponed indefinitely, will present 500 art works to the public via an online catalogue and is offering a digital programme of talks and performances all to be broadcast live online. 

Thieves fleeing Christ Church Picture Gallery may have escaped by boat | The thieves who stole three paintings, including one by Van Dyck, from the Christ Church Picture Gallery on Saturday night may have arrived and escaped by boat, according to the Thames Valley Police. The police are asking locals to report any stolen or abandoned boats or other unusual activity around where boats are docked on the rivers Cherwell or Thames. 

Reconstruction of Notre-Dame halted due to coronavirus | The reconstruction of Notre-Dame has been paused indefinitely by French authorities due to coronavirus. The removal of melted scaffolding from around the roof was scheduled to start on 23 March but the operation would place the team of some 100 workers on site at too great a risk of spreading the virus. 

Lead image: used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 4.0)