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Notre-Dame must be restored to previous appearance, says Senate

29 May 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Notre-Dame must be restored to previous appearance, says Senate | French senators have been debating the government’s restoration plan for Notre-Dame, introducing a stipulation that the scheme ‘restores the monument in the same way visually as before’. The bill’s new clauses, inserted by the upper house, will disrupt the international contest endorsed by President Macron to find a design for an inventive spire ‘suited to the techniques and challenges of our time’. Proposals for rebuilding the cathedral’s medieval spire and roof, which were ravaged by a blaze on 15 April, have come from prominent names such as the British architect Norman Foster and Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, who has said that ‘I am confident that [the Senate] will change their mind 100 times, and possibly bend towards my solution’.

Lonnie G. Bunch III named secretary of Smithsonian Institution | Lonnie G. Bunch III has been announced as the 14th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., succeeding David J. Skorton, who announced his resignation last December. Bunch, who is the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will be the first African American to hold the role in the institution’s 173-year history. Taking up the position on 16 June, Bunch will direct the group’s 19 museums, nine research centres and the National Zoo, as well as a $1.5 billion annual budget.

Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art appoints João Laia as chief curator | Portuguese curator João Laia has been named the new chief curator of exhibitions at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. Having previously programmed shows at the Lisbon City Hall Gallery, Galeria Municipal do Porto, and La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Laia will work closely with Leevi Haapala, Kiasma’s director. Laia takes over the position from Marja Sakari, who has been appointed director of Helsinki’s Ateneum Art Museum.

Horst H. Baumann (1934–2019) | Horst H. Baumann, the German photographer, light artist and architect, has died at the age of 84. Born in Aachen, Germany, Baumann studied at the city’s university before turning his hand to light art in the 1960s. His 1977 piece Laserscape Kassel, a green laser beam with a four-mile projection originally designed for Documenta 6, was the first permanent light installation and, after Baumann reinstalled it in Kassel in 2018, has continued to be illuminated every Saturday.