Our daily round-up of news from the art world
Philadelphia History Museum to close indefinitely | The Philadelphia History Museum has been forced to close its doors after discussions about forging a partnership with Temple University collapsed. The New York Times reports that normal public visiting hours will no longer be in effect as of this week, and it is understood that the institution will remain closed for a period of at least six months. The museum has been struggling financially for several years, and subsidy from the city of Philadelphia has not proved sufficient to cover its operating costs. For the time being, the museum will retain its collection of more than 100,000 objects and try to find find ways to keep parts of it on public display.
TEFAF brings management of its New York fairs in-house | The European Fine Art Fair has brought the management of its New York fairs under its own control after its two-year agreement with US firm Artvest expired. The Art Newspaper reports that Artvest owners Michael Plummer and Jeff Rabin will continue to sit on the board of TEFAF’s American operation, in which they are also significant shareholders. Management of the fairs will now be overseen by TEFAF director of global integration Sophie Scheerlinck.
RIBA sends ‘cease and desist’ letter to presidential candidate | The Royal Institute of British Architects has sent a letter to presidential candidate Elsie Owusu warning her not to make ‘damaging public statements’ about the organisation. The Architects’ Journal reports RIBA was moved to send the ‘cease and desist’ order after Owusu, one of three contenders for its presidency, criticised the salary of Alan Vallance, its chief executive. At a hustings in Leeds last week, Owusu claimed that Vallance earns six times the average architect’s salary, a claim that RIBA describes as ‘a flagrant breach of confidentiality’. The letter also singles out other instances in which Owusu’s comments threatened to undermine RIBA’s ‘reputation and standing’.
Christy MacLear leaves Sotheby’s Advisory Art Agency, Partners | ArtNews reports that Christy MacLear, vice chairman of Art Agency, Partners since 2016, has left her position. MacLear, who previously served as the inaugural CEO of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has declined to comment on the nature of her departure. Sotheby’s, which acquired the art advisory firm in 2016, has issued the following statement: ’We are grateful for Christy’s leadership as we expanded our advisory services to artists, artist estates and foundations and wish her much success in her future endeavours.’
Art for Justice Fund gives out nearly $10m in grants | The Art for Justice Fund, launched by the collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund last year, has awarded almost $10m in grants to 38 recipients. The grants are intended to support organisations engaged in ending judicial practices that discriminate against individuals from low-income backgrounds. A number of artists, including Hank Willis Thomas, and writers known for raising awareness of the criminal justice system with their work have also received funding.