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The week in art news – in Oxford, Rhodes won’t fall after all

21 May 2021

Oriel College, Oxford has decided not to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes – the imperialist businessman, politician and philanthropist – that stands in a niche on its facade. The decision, announced yesterday, accepts the recommendations made by an independent commission regarding greater diversity and equality within the college. However, it cites ‘the regulatory and financial challenges, including the expected time frame for removal, which could run into years with no certainty of outcome, together with the total cost of removal’ as reasons for keeping the Rhodes statue where it is. Neil Mendoza, Provost of Oriel, said ‘We understand this nuanced conclusion will be disappointing to some, but we are now focused on the delivery of practical actions aimed at improving outreach and the day-to-day experience of BME students.’

Victoria Pomeroy has been appointed chief executive of the Box in Plymouth, which opened in September 2020. Pomeroy, who is the founding director of Turner Contemporary in Margate, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, said in a statement: ‘Having seen first-hand the impact that art can make on people and places I am looking forward to taking the work at The Box forward at a critical and exciting time for the organisation.’

TEFAF Maastricht has cancelled this year’s physical fair, previously planned for September. A digital edition will run from 9–13 September, while the fair proper will return to its usual slot in the calendar in March 2022. The event had been pushed back several times before the decision was made to call it off. The Sharjah Biennial has also been postponed again – uncertainty over travel restrictions has led its organisers to delay the event from March 2022 to March 2023; it had originally been planned for March this year.

Banksy has lost a copyright battle with the European Union, after the Cancellation Division of the EU’s Intellectual Property Office declared his trademark over his 2002 image of a monkey wearing a sandwich board to be invalid. The trademark claim was filed in 2018 by Pest Control, Banksy’s certification company; a year later it was challenged by greeting card company Full Colour Black on the grounds of bad faith. The ruling notes that the graffiti was ‘free to be photographed by the general public and has been disseminated widely’.