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Norwegian government authorises demolition of building bearing murals by Picasso

Plus: Brazilian collector Bernardo Paz cleared of money laundering charges | Italian collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo drops plans for new Madrid space | Eric Crosby announced as director of Carnegie Museum of Art | Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Historical Society to combine | and recommended reading

28 February 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Norwegian government gives go-ahead for demolition of building with Picasso murals | Officials in Norway have authorised the demolition of a building in Oslo that is embellished with five concrete murals designed by Pablo Picasso. The modernist structure Y-Block, which was designed by Erling Viksjø in the late 1960s, is part of Regjeringskvartalet, a complex of buildings in the city centre that house government offices. Y-Block and the neighbouring H-Block, which also features Picasso murals, have sat empty since a right-wing terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, set off a car bomb in 2011 that killed eight people and damaged the structures, which officials earmarked for demolition in 2014. Since then, the Norwegian government has continued to promise that the murals, which the BBC has claimed are Picasso’s first attempts at the medium, will be preserved, proposing that they will be reutilised above the entrance to the new buildings. Preservationists, architects and politicians have opposed the demolition, with a petition to save the building reaching over 28,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon. There are currently no plans to demolish H-Block.

Brazilian collector Bernardo Paz cleared of money laundering charges | Bernardo Paz, the Brazilian collector who founded and built the Instituto Inhotim, one of the largest outdoor art centres in Latin America, has been cleared of money laundering charges by a federal appeals court in Brasília. Paz was sentenced to nine years and three months imprisonment in November 2017 after a complaint was made by federal prosecutors Ministério Público Federal. The suit alleged that $98.5 million, raised between 2007 and 2008 from oversees investment funds and intended to support the institute, was used by Paz to settle debts and pay expenses incurred by his mining and steel companies. Explaining the new ruling, Paz’s lawyer Marcelo Leonardo said that the misconduct targeted by the complaint wasn’t part of Brazilian law until 2013, six years after the alleged crime took place.

Italian collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo drops plans for new Madrid space | The Turin-based collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo has abandoned plans to build a new space for her art foundation on the site of an early 20th-century slaughterhouse in the Arguanzuela district of Madrid. Citing problems with ‘the existing structural problems of the building itself, that cannot be solved’, Sandretto Re Rebaudengo said architects had been working on the project for 18 months, but that she would now look for another space in the city. The Nave 9 building, which is part of Madrid’s Matadero complex, is spread across 6,300 square metres and would have been double the size of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s Centre for Contemporary Art in Turin.

Eric Crosby announced as director of Carnegie Museum of Art | The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have named Eric Crosby as the new director of the Carnegie Museum of Art. Corsby has worked at the Carnegie Museum since 2015 as the senior curator of modern and contemporary art, during which time he has organised several important exhibitions, supervised the transformation of the museum’s postwar and contemporary art galleries, and updated their collections with a number of significant acquisitions. Commenting on his appointment, Crosby said ‘I will continue to champion curatorial projects and educational initiatives that provoke critical conversations about our world and respond to the key social issues of our time’. He will take up the position on 1 March.

Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Historical Society to combine | Two institutions in Brooklyn have announced the decision to combine. The Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) will become a part of parent institution the Brooklyn Public Library (BPS), which will manage the BHS’s holdings and programming, in addition to providing access and awareness to its 8 million annual visitors. In return, the BHS will provide conservation services, presentation and conservation facilities and programming to the BPS. (Press Release) 

Recommended reading | Frieze asks what can be done to reshape power structures in today’s museums. The New Statesman America pays a visit to the Migration Museum, a temporary exhibition housed in a shopping centre in Lewisham, South London. UnHerd proposes that London museums should give relics from the north east of England to regional institutions.

Lead image: used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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