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‘Paddington Shard’ scrapped…for the time being

1 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Plans Scrapped for Piano’s Paddington Skyscraper | Developers have withdrawn plans for a proposed 254-metre-high tower in London’s Paddington district after a vocal campaign from opponents of the scheme. Critics of the Renzo-Piano-designed tower had voiced alarm over the impact it would have on the City of Westminster’s skyline, describing it as a ‘blight’ on the area’s views. Developer Irvine Sellar has described the project as ‘exciting’, but with good reason, many Londoners didn’t agree. One of them was starchitect Sir Terry ‘MI6’ Farrell, who attacked the plans as ‘piecemeal and opportunistic’. (Not that it stopped his own firm putting out a rival proposal…) Sellar has now taken plans for the site back to the drawing board.

Louvre to Cooperate with Iran for first time since 1980 | Officials from the Louvre have signed a deal with Iran which could see French archaeological teams returning to the country for the first time since the revolution. According to The Art Newspaper, the deal also envisions exchanges of exhibitions, publications and training sessions, with a show on the Qajar dynasty set to open at the Louvre’s outpost in Lens. Unlike its museum counterparts in Rome, the Louvre didn’t even feel the need to hide the modesty of its nude statues

Matt’s Gallery to Leave LongTerm Home | This from Art Monthly (via Twitter). Matt’s Gallery, the trailblazing contemporary space founded by Robin Klassnik in 1979, is to move from its long-term home in east London to a new site in Nine Elms, south of the Thames. As Niru Ratnam wrote here back in July, the latter district is currently undergoing major renewal, with developers keen to bring in art galleries to turn the area into a ‘cultural quarter’. Matt’s, with its idiosyncratic and often brilliant programme, is far from the most obviously developer-friendly gallery. Given that the freehold of its current premises is owned by arts charity Acme, one wonders what has drawn Klassnik’s gallery south of the river.

RightWing Israeli Group Publishes ‘Blacklist’ of Artists | Im Tirtzu, an extreme-right pressure group, has compiled a ‘blacklist’ of 117 Israeli writers, artists and intellectuals who oppose development on the West Bank. Im Tirtzu stated that it was publishing the list in support of culture minister Miri Regev and described those named as ‘moles’. The move has been heavily criticised at home and abroad.

Ai Weiwei Poses as Drowned Refugee | Ai Weiwei has been photographed posing as the drowned Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi on a Lesbos beach. Ai – who last week closed a show in Copenhagen early in protest at the Danish government’s treatment of migrants – has been working on the island to highlight the plight of Middle Eastern refugees for some weeks now. One can’t doubt his sincerity. But is this new photo really in the best taste? With comments ranging from ‘haunting’ to ‘ludicrous’, it seems the jury’s out.

Lunch with the World’s ‘Flashiest Art Collector’ | Last but by no means least, the FT has published an interview with Wang Wei, who along with her husband Liu Yiqian paid $170 million for a Modigliani last year – the second highest price a painting has ever fetched at auction. Among other things, Wang and the Pink’un’s Patti Waldmeir discuss the state of Chinese art, the global market slowdown, and the delights of a restaurant called ‘Old Foreign Mansion Hot Pot’. Yum.