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Pompidou Centre, Eiffel Tower, and Musée de Cluny to undergo major renovations

Plus: Pyotr Pavlensky seeks political asylum in France | City of London revives plans for new concert hall | Donald Trump cancels visit to African American Museum | and recommended reading

16 January 2017

Major renovations scheduled for Paris landmarks | Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced that the Eiffel Tower is to undergo a €300 million refurbishment that will take up to 15 years, reports The Art Newspaper. There are also plans for a major refurbishment of the Musée de Cluny, reports Le Parisien (French language article). France’s minister for culture, Audrey Azoulay, has announced a €20 million project that envisages the construction of a 250 square metre extension intended to house a reception, a bookshop, and educational spaces. Across the Seine, the Pompidou Centre, which this year celebrates its 40th birthday, is also set for a makeover. According to the Guardian, ‘massive’ renovations expected to cost at least €100 million will take place from 2018. It is hoped that the Pompidou will be able to remain open while the works take place.

Pyotr Pavlensky seeks political asylum in France | Dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky has sought asylum in France after being accused of sexually related crimes by Russian authorities, reports the Daily Telegraph. Pavlensky, who is known for his attention-grabbing political performance art, was arrested by Russian authorities after setting fire to the door of the headquarters of Russia’s security service in 2015 and released after a spell in detention. On 14 December, Pavlensky and his partner were detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and subjected to a nine-hour-long cross examination, in which they learned that they had been accused of committing a violent sexual assault. The next day, the pair flew to Ukraine with their children. They deny any wrongdoing.

City of London revives plans for new concert hall | The City of London Corporation has revived plans for a new concert hall on the current site of the Museum of London, reports Arts Professional. The venture, which was jointly proposed by the Barbican Centre, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2014, was axed last November after the UK government concluded that it would not offer value for money to the taxpayer. However, the Corporation has now set aside £2.5 million in funding to draw up a detailed business case for the venue, which is set to be published by December 2018.

Donald Trump cancels visit to African American Museum | President Elect Donald Trump’s planned visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington has been called off, reports the Independent. Trump had been planning to visit the recently opened institution to mark Martin Luther King Day, but spokesmen from his transition team said that he would be unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Recommended reading | Does the contemporary art world devote too much time dwelling on past achievements? New York’s Jerry Saltz writes that in a time of great change for society, thinking about and exhibiting the artists of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s is ‘not what we need’. On a similar note, ArtReview’s JJ Charlesworth discusses what he sees as the art world’s ‘delusion’ in the face of Donald Trump’s inauguration this week. ‘The extreme hostility directed at Trump, and […] reeks of exaggeration,’ he writes. ‘[…] Easier to engage in virtue-signalling disavowal than real engagement. The artworld has a long way to go before it escapes its own particular echo chamber.’

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