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North Carolina protesters pull down Confederate statue

Plus: David Roberts to close London gallery and open Somerset sculpture park | Promotions and appointment at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. | and Hockney writes preface for forthcoming Kitaj memoir

15 August 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

North Carolina protesters pull down Confederate statue | A bronze statue of a Confederate soldier was pulled down last night by protesters in the city of Durham in North Carolina, who were gathering in response to the fatal violence which occurred at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. The statue, positioned in front of the old Durham County Court, was pulled to the ground using a strap tied round its neck. The Charlottesville rally had been organised by white nationalists who were protesting the removal of a statue of a Confederate general. One counter-protester was killed and 19 injured when a man drove a car into a crowd. Outrage over these events has led multiple other state officials to push forward with plans to pull down Confederate monuments in public spaces throughout the US.

David Roberts to close London gallery and open Somerset sculpture park | The Art Newspaper reports that collector David Roberts will be closing his London space, the David Roberts Art Foundation in Camden – and opening a new public sculpture garden in Somerset, west England. The London gallery, DRAF, opened in 2012 and is due to close in October of this year. Plans for the Somerset venue, to open in 2019, are pending approval from the local council. In a statement, the Scottish collector expanded on the motivation for the move: ‘We hope to attract a wider audience in Somerset; we think we’ll have more visitors there than in London. We don’t get huge numbers of people through the door in Camden.’

Promotions and appointments at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. | James Meyer, who left the National Gallery of Art two years ago to serve as deputy director and chief curator at New York’s Dia Art Foundation, is returning to the gallery in Washington, D.C., where he has been newly appointed curator of art, 1945–1974. The announcement of Meyer’s return coincides with the appointment of a new chief archivist and editor-in-chief (Kathleen Williams and Emiko Usui respectively), and the promotion of five existing curatorial and library staff members.

Hockney writes preface for forthcoming Kitaj memoir | The late American artist R.B. Kitaj’s unpublished memoir Confessions of an Old Jewish Painter will be released after a long wait later this year, with a preface by David Hockney which condemns the ‘vicious’ attacks by art critics on his fellow painter, the Guardian reports. The autobiography was found among Kitaj’s belongings following his death in 2007. Kitaj had publicly linked the sudden death of his 46-year-old wife Sandra Fisher to the upsetting criticism he faced from a number of British critics following his 1994 retrospective at the Tate.

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