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Penn Museum returns ancient clay tablets to Iraq

6 December 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Penn Museum returns 387 clay tablets to Iraq | The Penn Museum in Philadelphia has handed over hundreds of clay tablets to the Iraq Embassy in Washington, D.C. as part of a restitution process. The objects, which date from 2100 to 2000 BC and were excavated from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur almost a century ago, were used to record financial transactions relating to goods sold in palaces and temples. Around 7,500 fragments were brought to Pennsylvania during the 1920s and 1930s, with a loan agreement drawn up to confirm the repatriation of objects to Iraq after being researched by the university.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston announces new director | Hesse McGraw has been announced as the new director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, after the abrupt departure of the previous director Bill Arning last year. McGraw is a partner of the Kansas City-based design firm el dorado, inc., and previously served as vice president for exhibitions and public programmes at the San Francisco Art Institute. He will take up his position as director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in January 2020.

Recommended reading | The Guardian sits down with the four winners of this year’s Turner Prize, discussing why they wanted to be awarded the prize as a collective. Jeremy Deller talks to the Observer about protests, posters and attending the same private school as Nigel Farage.