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Paris museum group accused of ‘abuse of power’

Plus: Export bar for drawing recently attributed to Leonardo | DIY artists’ studios face eviction after Oakland fire | V&A evacuated in security alert | Artists arrested for protesting air pollution in China

4 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Musée Montmartre accuses Paris museum group of abuse of power | Aude Viart, director of Paris’s Musée Montmartre, has spoken out against the city’s largest museum group after the small institution was refused membership for the fourth consecutive year. The InterMusées group sells around one million passes a year, allowing visitors access to 56 museums including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Pompidou Centre. It has repeatedly rejected the Montmartre museum’s applications to join on the grounds that it is supported by private donors, and is therefore not a public institution. However, Viart has contested this, explaining to Le Figaro (French language article) that the museum has been a non-profit organisation since 2014. In defiance of the rejection, the Montmartre institution will accept InterMusées passes free of charge.

Export bar for drawing recently attributed to Leonardo | The French government has refused an export certificate for a double-sided drawing that was recently attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, reports Le Journal des Arts (£, French language article, via The Art Newspaper). The work, which is believed to be part of Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus (1478–1519), was brought to the Tajan auction house by a retired doctor, and the attribution was formally announced late last year. The license refusal follows a similar procedure to the UK’s temporary export bar measures, allowing the French government 30 months to buy the work at market value, currently estimated at €15 million.

DIY artists’ studios face eviction after Oakland fire | Following a warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 people last month, authorities in the US are cracking down on so called DIY warehouse studio complexes, reports the Guardian. Eviction threats, investigations and shutdowns have been reported by artists in cities including San Francisco, Los Angles, Portland and New York, with tenants alleging that the ‘Ghost Ship’ fire is being used as an excuse to redevelop spaces used by artists into more profitable ventures.

V&A evacuated in security alert | London’s Victoria and Albert Museum was evacuated yesterday after a ‘security alert’, reports the London Evening Standard. At around 3pm, visitors were ushered out by policemen, and all entrances to the museum were cordoned off. The building was surrounded and remained closed to the public until 4:30pm, when a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the incident had been ‘stood down’.

Artists arrested for protesting air pollution in China | Eight artists have been arrested in Chengdu for staging a protest against the city’s poor air quality, reports the BBC. The artists, who were concerned that a petrochemical plant close to the city was contributing to the region’s toxic smog, reportedly walked around Chengdu sporting face masks before being challenged by police. They were questioned and held, and eventually released the following morning. ‘We didn’t break any rules’, said one artist, who requested to remain anonymous.

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