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Rebellion over Heatherwick’s ‘Garden Bridge’

18 December 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Councillors Rebel Over London’s Garden Bridge | Yet more controversy over Thomas Heatherwick’s contentious plans for a ‘Garden Bridge’ spanning the Thames in central London. According to the Guardian, Labour councillors in the Borough of Lambeth – which is responsible for the southern bank of the proposed site – have defied their local leadership and demanded further scrutiny over its decision to hand the site to a private trust. The unnamed councillors have described the council leader’s decision to support the £175 million bridge as ‘unaccountable’, adding that it could expose the local authority to unforeseen costs. The proposed bridge, which currently has a £30 million shortfall, has proved highly contentious. Nice idea or wasteful folly? You probably know where you stand…

Edinburgh Councillors Reject Hotel Plans for Royal High School |…And should you fall into the latter camp, you may be cheered to hear that plans for a ‘world class’ five-star hotel in Edinburgh’s A-listed Royal High School building have been rejected by local authorities. The RHS building, which is owned by Edinburgh City Council, was vacated by the school in 1968, and was for some time proposed as the seat for a devolved Scottish Parliament. Now that the hotel plans have been scotched, the Royal High School Preservation Trust hopes that its bid to turn the building into a home for St Mary’s Music School will get the green light.

Human Rights Watch Voices Concern Over Jailed Tunisian Artists | Campaign group Human Rights Watch has voiced concern over the sentencing of five artists who have been jailed in Tunisia on drugs charges. As previously reported, three of the five were initially arrested on what (according to Le Monde) appeared to be tenuous terrorism charges, before being jailed under a 23-year-old statute that Human Rights Watch argue should be repealed.

Pussy Riot Member to Open Museum | Maria Alyokhina of dissident Russian punk band Pussy Riot has revealed her intention to open a new museum ‘for women, by women, about women’ in Montenegro. When open, the New Balkan Women’s Museum will employ only female curators and administrative staff, and will – as you may have guessed – seek to promote the work of female artists. Though the move is sure to elicit groans from certain sections of the commentariat, Alyokhina has stressed that the project confronts the very real problem of gender bias in the art world.

Neil MacGregor Announces Final Acquisition as BM Director | Neil MacGregor is leaving the British Museum on a high, unveiling his customary director’s portrait and revealing the institution’s latest acquisition – a cross created from the wreckage of a boat that commemorates the drowning of over 300 refugees off the island of Lampedusa in October 2013. The cross, which was fashioned by a local carpenter following the disaster, is now on display.

ArtNet News Editor Named Director of Armory Show | Change begins early in the New Year. Benjamin Genocchio, the founding editor-in-chief of ArtNet News, is moving on to become chief executive of the Armory Show. Genocchio will replace Noah Horowitz, who announced his departure for Art Basel in July. Meanwhile, the vacancy at ArtNet will be filled by Rozalia Jovanovic, who was previously executive editor.

Wadsworth Atheneum Names New Director | And over in Hartford, Connecticut, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has announced that it has chosen Thomas J Loughman as its new director and C.E.O. Loughman, who was selected from a list of 80 candidates, is currently associate director of programme and planning at Williamstown Massachussetts’s Clark Institute. He takes up his new role in February.

New Foundation Seattle Announces Major Grant for Artists | The New Foundation Seattle has announced a grant for visual artists, curators, and art critics based in the organisation’s home city and in Portland – the first time artists outside Seattle have ever been eligible for funding from the Foundation. We hazard a guess that beards will be involved. Many, many beards.