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Notre Dame launches €100m drive for urgent restoration work

Plus: Ancient citadel in Turkey threatened by construction work | New York neighbourhood group objects to Ai Weiwei art project | and Berkshire Museum board turns down financial offer to halt sales from its collection

30 August 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Urgent fundraising campaign launched to restore Notre Dame | The archbishop of Paris has launched a €100m fundraising campaign to restore the façade of Notre Dame cathedral. Although the French state, which owns the building, already donates some €2m towards repairs annually, conservationists say that should major restoration work be further delayed, there is a real chance that Notre Dame’s famous exterior may start to crumble. ‘If we don’t do these restoration works, we’ll risk seeing parts of the exterior structure begin to fall’, said Michel Picaud, president of the Friends of Notre Dame charity. ‘This is a very serious risk’.

Ancient citadel in Turkey threatened by construction work | The ruins of Hasankeyf, a 12,000-year-old settlement famed for its manmade caves, is at risk due to large-scale works taking place in the area. According to the Guardian, local authorities have begun to collapse cliff faces in the vicinity in preparation for the construction a hydroelectric dam some 50 miles downstream on the Tigris river. It is thought that the controversial Ilisu dam will raise water levels in the area significantly, submerging up to 80 per cent of Hasankeyf’s area, disrupting local ecosystems, and displacing thousands of people.

New York neighbourhood group objects to Ai Weiwei art project | Ai Weiwei’s ambitious public sculpture project in New York has provoked complaints from some residents of Greenwich Village, reports Gothamist. Entitled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, the upcoming project will include installations in all five of the city’s boroughs as a comment on today’s migration crises. However, members of the Washington Square Association have complained that a section intended for the monumental arch in Washington Square Park will obstruct local festivities and set a ‘dangerous precedent as far as taking an artistic work [the arch itself] and decorating it for a political purpose.’

Berkshire Museum board rejects financial offer to halt sales from its collection | The board of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which plans to sell parts of its collection in order to fund an expansion scheme, has turned down a $1m offer to defer any sale for at least a year. ‘Although we must decline, we are grateful for the offer,’ board president Elizabeth McGraw said of the appeal, which came from an anonymous group of donors. According to the Art Newspaper, the museum intends to sell some 40 works of art, including two Norman Rockwell originals, in order to fund a major overhaul of the museum. In an open letter to the community, McGraw argued that any delay to the wider project would jeopardise the future of the institution, which is in financial difficulty.

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