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New Museum reaches contract agreement with employees’ union

Plus: Ethiopian crown hidden by civil servant revealed after 21 years | Former Getty Foundation director Deborah Marrow dies, aged 70 | and Ludwig Forum to award artist Walid Raad, despite Aachen objections

3 October 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

New Museum reaches contract agreement with employees’ union | New York’s New Museum has reached an agreement with the New Museum Union (of the UAW Local 2121 union) after seven months of negotiation, a protest in June and a union vote last week in favour of strike action. The new contract includes a tiered wage structure that ensures a minimum annual salary of at least $46,000 for full-time museum employees, more time off and improved work safety conditions.  Already active since Tuesday, the contract extends to 30 June 2024. 

Ethiopian crown hidden by civil servant revealed after 21 years | Sirak Asfaw, a civil servant in the Netherlands who fled his home country of Ethiopia in 1978, has revealed that in 1998 he discovered a crown looted from Ethiopia in the luggage of an unidentified guest and kept it at his house until he believed it could be safely returned. After the election of new prime minister Abiy Ahmed in 2018, Asfaw contacted art-crime investigator Arthur Brand, who has helped him to securely store the work and alert Dutch authorities. Ethiopia’s ministry of tourism and culture is being consulted about how best to repatriate the artefact, while its authenticity is in the process of being investigated. It has so far been examined by Jacopo Gnisci, a specialist from Oxford University who believes it is an authentic zewd, or liturgical crown, probably commissioned by a warlord in the 18th century. Read more about artefacts from this period in this Apollo article by Gnisci on the Maqdala treasures, now at the V&A, here.

Former Getty Foundation director Deborah Marrow dies, aged 70 | Deborah Marrow, the longest-ever serving director of the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, has died at the age of 70. A baroque painting specialist, Marrow retired last year, having joined the foundation as publications coordinator in 1983 when it was known as the Getty Grant Program. She was made director in 1989, and over the following 30 years she oversaw the allocation of almost 8,000 grants, including $28m to Southern Californian art institutions under the Pacific Standard Time initiative, and $14m towards 3,400 internships for diverse candidates as part of the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship programme.

Ludwig Forum to award artist Walid Raad, despite Aachen objections | ARTnews reports that the Ludwig Forum for International Art has decided to go forward with its earlier decision to award the €10,000 Aachen Art Prize to artist Walid Raad, despite the city of Aachen’s announcement on Monday that it had withdrawn the prize because it believed that Raad supports the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which Germany has labelled anti-Semitic. The museum’s board stated that, after finding no evidence to suggest that Raad is anti-Semitic, it would override the city’s decision and offer the award from its own funds.

Lead image: used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY 2.0)