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Native American artefacts transferred to Peabody Essex Museum

Plus: Hauser & Wirth expands to Hong Kong and China | Germany pledges €400 million for UNESCO-listed parks and palaces | Documenta board presents interim auditors’ report | and recommended reading

22 September 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Native American artefacts transferred to Peabody Essex Museum | The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts yesterday announced that it has taken ownership of a controversial collection of over 150 Native American artefacts, housed for nearly 70 years at the museum but until now owned by the Andover Newton Theological School. The 210-year-old school, which is America’s oldest seminary, handed over the items, mostly gathered by Christian missionaries in the 19th century, along with 1,000 other objects from its collection. The New York Times reports that the Peabody’s director and ‘noted expert on the repatriation law’ Dan Monroe plans quickly to return many of the items to their tribes. The Native American collection has for some time been the subject of a battle between the school and those – including federal regulators and the Peabody Essex Museum – who have criticised it for failing to engage in legally required repatriation processes.

Hauser & Wirth expands to Hong Kong and China | Hauser & Wirth gallery’s roster of international locations – currently comprising New York, London, Somerset, Los Angeles and Gstaad in Switzerland – is growing, it was announced today. In spring 2018 the gallery will open a new outpost in Hong Kong: a 10,000-square-foot space spread across two floors of the H Queens development in the city’s central district. It has also announced that two more offices in Beijing and Shanghai will be up and running by October this year.

Germany pledges €400 million for UNESCO-listed parks and palaces | The German government, along with the states of Berlin and Brandenburg, yesterday signed an agreement pledging a total of €400 million funding for the renovation of Germany’s UNESCO-listed Prussian parks and palaces around Berlin and Potsdam. Half of the funding, which carries through to 2030, will come directly from the government, with €69 million pledged by Berlin and a further €131 million by Brandenberg, the Art Newspaper reports. The Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Parks, which manages 300 buildings and over 750 hectares of open space, described the agreement as a ‘milestone’, which will ensure that ‘unique and original authentic buildings [are] not lost forever’.

Documenta board presents interim auditors’ report | Earlier this month it was revealed that Documenta 14, this year’s edition of the quinquennial art exhibition held in Kassel and Athens, had left its parent company with a deficit of around €7 million deficit and is need of an emergency bail-out from the city of Kassel and the state of Hesse. Yesterday the company, documenta gGmbH, held a board meeting where independent auditors presented an interim report analysing the exhibition’s finances. Representatives from Kassel and Hesse shared some of these preliminary findings at a press conference, as well as details of the loan guarantee agreed by the city and state – Artnet provides a useful summary of the conference’s contents. A full report is expected to be ready in November.

Recommended reading | In the New York Times, Ekow Eshun takes a look at the musical tastes of Jean-Michel Basquiat – the artist’s love of jazz in particular – and argues for the importance of music to Basquiat as both ‘personal inspiration … and as a subject matter’. The LA Review of Books turns its attentions to Eileen Myles’s new book Afterglow (a dog memoir), declaring the poet and art critic to be ‘The Instagram Artist of Our Time’. And in the New Yorker, another book review: Dan Piepenbring on Jean-Claude Lebensztejn’s Pissing Figures, 1280–2014, a history of artistic representations of urination.