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Putin appoints cultural leaders to rewrite constitution

Plus: Lucas Museum acquires major archive of African-American cinema | Paisley Museum receives £3.8m lottery funding boost | François Pinault appoints Bruno Racine as director of Venice museums | and Cristina Iglesias wins Royal Academy Architecture Prize

16 January 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Putin appoints cultural leaders to rewrite constitution | President Vladimir Putin yesterday called for significant changes to the Russian constitution, prompting the government to resign en masse and new ministers to be appointed, amid speculation that these changes could prolong Putin’s presidency beyond 2024. A group of political and cultural leaders has been recruited to draft the constitutional amendments, which will be voted on in a national referendum; members of the group include Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, and Zelfira Tregulova, the director of Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery.

Lucas Museum acquires major archive of African American cinema | The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles has announced that it has acquired the Separate Cinema Archive, a collection of more than 37,000 objects dedicated to African-American cinema from 1904 to the present day. Featuring posters, lobby cards, film stills, publicity material and original scripts, ‘the materials in the archive illustrate the widespread influence of African American cinema on society and culture’, said Ryan Linkof, the museum’s curator of film. The institution, which is currently under construction in LA’s Exposition Park, is expected to open in 2021.

Paisley Museum receives £3.8m lottery funding boost | The Paisley Museum in Renfrewshire, Scotland, has been handed a significant funding boost of £3.8 million by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The museum, which houses one of the largest municipal collections of art in Scotland, is currently undergoing a major £42 million redevelopment, refurbishing its four buildings in order to double the number of objects that were previously on display. The museum is expected to reopen in late 2022.

Bruno Racine to direct Pinault’s Venice museums | The French businessman and art collector François Pinault has appointed Bruno Racine as the next director of the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana in Venice. Racine has previously headed up the Centre Georges Pompidou and Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris and the Académie de France in Rome, and served as the director of cultural affairs for the City of Paris between 1988 and 1993. Pinault is due to open a private museum in Paris, the Bourse de Commerce, later this year.

Cristina Iglesias wins Royal Academy Architecture Prize | The winner of the 2020 Royal Academy Architecture Prize is Cristina Iglesias, an installation artist and sculptor working in Madrid. Iglesias’s public works often fuse water with materials such as steel, glass and concrete, creating interactive spectacles that draw attention away from the bustle of urban environments. Norman Foster, who chaired a jury including Alan Stanton of Stanton Williams and artist duo Jane and Louise Wilson, said ‘successive generations of urbanists and artists have enhanced open civic spaces with public art in the form of statuary and fountains. The Royal Academy Architecture Prize pays homage to that enduring and vital tradition in its choice of Cristina Iglesias.’