Phyllida Barlow to represent UK at Venice Biennale

Plus: Move to London confirmed for Royal Photographic Society collection | Kunsthaus Zurich expansion sparks protest from Orthodox Jewish groups | Kensington buildings to become new art space | And has Banksy finally been unmasked?

4 March 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Phyllida Barlow to represent Britain at Venice Biennale | Sculptor Phyllida Barlow is to represent the UK at next year’s Venice Biennale. Barlow, who was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1944, has had a heady few years. Though long respected by fellow artists (she taught at the Slade School of Art for more than 40 years), it’s only recently that her work has been exhibited in prominent spaces, including Tate Britain’s Duveen Gallery. In the latest New Year’s Honours List, she was awarded a CBE. ‘It’s a massive honour,’ Barlow said. ‘Having been that thing called a minor British artist for most of my working life, I’m now getting things beyond my wildest dreams.’ Can she top Sarah Lucas’s exhibition at the British pavilion at last year’s Biennale? We can’t wait to see.

Move to London confirmed for Royal Photographic Society collection | The transfer of 312,000 objects from the Royal Photographic Society’s collection from Bradford’s National Media Museum to the V&A has now been confirmed, and there is a possibility of a further 85,000 items following them south. The move comes despite vocal protests, with some 27,000 people adding their signatures to a petition to reconsider the move. Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, meanwhile, has said that she will raise the matter with culture minister Ed Vaizey to get the decision reversed.

Kunsthaus Zurich expansion sparks protest from Orthodox Jewish groups | Orthodox Jewish groups have been demonstrating outside Swiss embassies around the world, in protest at ‘sensitive issues’ surrounding the ongoing expansion of Kunsthaus Zurich. According to the protestors, the works on the museum will put a 14th-century Jewish burial site at risk. ‘We are not here to stop their project, but to work with them,’ Rabbi David Niederman, director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, told the New York Times. ‘At the same time, do not desecrate the memory of our holy places.’ The city of Zurich acknowledges that the site was part of a Jewish quarter, but disputes that a cemetery was located there. Three orthodox rabbis in Zurich have written a public letter in Hebrew, stating that the search for a cemetery is a ‘local matter’.

Kensington buildings to become new art space | South Kensington is home to some of the greatest museums in Europe; Francis Bacon, famously, kept a chaotic studio in a mews house here, and the Royal College of Art is just up the road. Now, it looks as though the area might add yet another string to its art-historical bow. Plans are afoot to turn five Grade-II listed Victorian houses near the Natural History Museum into a new ‘art hub’ to house independent exhibitors, curators and art organisations that have been ‘priced out of traditional gallery space’ in prime central London districts. Should it get the go ahead, the new centre will provide space for up to 30 companies. The organisations behind the project – John Martin Gallery, CWM Retail Property Advisors, and the estate that owns the five properties – are expected to submit a planning application early this summer.

Has Banksy been unmasked? | Finally, it looks as if we may have an answer to one of the great mysteries of the modern age. Researchers at Queen Mary University in east London believe they have definitively proved the identity of Banksy. The mysterious street artist, they have concluded with the help of a statistical ‘geoprofile’, is in fact the alias of Robin Gunningham, whose name was first mooted as the artist’s true identity in a 2008 newspaper investigation. We can’t help feeling just a little sad that he’s finally been ‘outed’.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *