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Proposed funding cuts threaten the future of the New Art Gallery Walsall

Plus: China plans new museum to display collections of Ming and Qing dynasty emperors | Historic England publishes updated list of endangered heritage sites | and recommended reading

24 October 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

New Art Gallery Walsall could see funding cut by £500,000 | In a bid to make savings of £85 million over the next four years, the local authority responsible for Walsall is planning to reduce core funding for the city’s New Art Gallery by more than £500,000 between 2017 and 2020. According to The Art Newspaper, a council report suggests that the museum’s current annual subsidy of around £900,000 could be cut by £100,000 in 2017–18 and up to £390,000 in 2019–20. The New Art Gallery opened in 2000, in an acclaimed new building by architects Caruso St John. The report suggests that it ‘will have to operate on a more commercial basis and become self sustaining’ if it is to remain open for much longer.

China plans new museum to display collections of Ming and Qing dynasty emperors | The Chinese government is planning to build a new museum to display its historic imperial treasures, says the South China Morning Post. Though the nation already has a space for the purpose – the Palace Museum at the famous ‘Forbidden City’ – the existing facilities allow only a tiny percentage of the collections to be on display at one time. The new museum will be located around 25km from the existing institution, and its main building will take up around 125,000 sq m.

Historic England publishes updated list of endangered heritage sites | Historic England has published an updated version of its Heritage at Risk Register – a list of threatened historic sites in the UK. The Guardian reports that, while Wilton’s Music Hall in east London has been removed from the watchlist, sites including Hawksmoor’s St Mary Woolnoth in the City of London, Brighton’s Old Town and the Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo have been newly added. Historic England CEO Duncan Wilson has warned that although the list is shorter than last year’s, renovation costs for structures will continue to rise the longer they are left neglected.

Recommended reading | Plans for Ireland’s Upper House, the Seanad Éireann, to move into the building that houses the National Museum of Ireland while its chambers are refurbished have provoked more than a little controversy. In the Irish Times, Aidan O’Sullivan argues that the scheme will be disruptive and ultimately unnecessary. ‘What will be the impact of this extremely expensive and damaging intervention on the National Museum of Ireland’s duties, responsibilities and obligations?’, he asks. Elsewhere, the Sunday Times (£) reports that a version of Hogarth’s A Scene from The Beggar’s Opera in the collection of Washington’s National Gallery of Art has been deemed a fake by Hogarth scholar and former Tate curator Elizabeth Einberg. The work, which was donated to the NGA by Paul Mellon in 1983, lacks ‘the finesse’ of other versions, Einberg argues in a study that was part funded by the Mellon Foundation itself.

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