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Plans revealed for controversial museum in Hong Kong

18 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Plans revealed for Hong Kong’s Palace Museum | Detailed plans for a proposed satellite of Beijing’s Palace Museum in Hong Kong have been revealed by the FactWire investigative news agency (via Hong Kong Free Press). The planned museum is a source of substantial controversy in Hong Kong, where some have interpreted the proposal as a symbolic imposition of mainland Chinese culture onto the former British colony. Pro-democracy activists have criticised the project as a ‘dictation from China’, and have previously claimed there has been ‘no proper consultation’. The West Kowloon Cultural District, a local arts hub where the museum will be based, has now begun a six-week consultation, but did not present the plan to the public prior to its appearance on FactWire.

Sotheby’s claim Parmigianino work a fake | Sotheby’s has filed a complaint to the United States District Court in New York stating that a painting of St Jerome attributed to Parmigianino is a modern fake, reports the New York Times. The auction house has filed the complaint against a collector who consigned the work to it in 2012. It was subsequently sold at auction for $842,500. After a round of testing last year, researchers working on behalf of Sotheby’s have concluded that it contains pigments that were not invented until the 20th century. Sotheby’s will refund the buyer in full, and is seeking damages of $672,000 from the Luxembourg-based consignor. For a more detailed analysis, see Bendor Grosvenor’s assessment on Art History News.

Investigative report claims Israel Museum director pocketed double salary | Ha-Makom, an Israeli news blog, (Hebrew language article, via ArtNet News) has published an investigative report claiming that outgoing Israel Museum director James Snyder has since 2010 been accepting a second salary from a non-profit identified as the ‘American Friends of Israel Museum’. Snyder, who announced his resignation from the Isreal Museum after 20 years in the role, has allegedly received a total of $8.3 million from the US-based non-profit in addition to his published salary of around $88,000. The blog claims that it made the discovery after studying AFIM’s tax returns for the years 2010–15. Snyder has described the claims as ‘slanderous’. The Israel Museum has also issued a statement saying that Snyder was permitted to receive a separate salary from AFIM, if indeed he did receive any such payment.

Germany to fund Holocaust museum in Thessaloniki | Thessaloniki’s Jewish community has received the green light to begin construction of a Holocaust museum, reports AFP (via Israel National News). The project, which will be jointly funded by the German government and the foundation of Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos, will commemorate the Jewish population of the city prior to the Second World War. Costing €22 million, construction of the project is expected to begin this year, with an estimated completion date before the end of the decade.

David Gaimster to leave Hunterian | Professor David Gaimster is to leave the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum after six years in the role. ‘The decision to leave the University has been an extremely difficult one,’ said Gaimster, under whose watch the museum has seen a year-on-year increase in visitors. ‘I am comforted in the knowledge that the new Director of The Hunterian will inherit a strong platform for even greater innovation as the next phase of the Kelvin Hall project evolves’. Gaimster has been appointed director at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand, a position he is expected to take up in March.

Saudi Arabia donates €5 million to the Institut du Monde Arabe | Saudi Arabia has contributed €5 million towards the renovation and modernisation of Paris’s Institut du Monde Arabe, reports Le Figaro (French language article). The IMA has commemorated the donation with a plaque, unveiled in the presence of Saudi foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, and former culture minister Jack Lang, under whose watch the institution opened in 1987.