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Reconstruction work to begin on Nepal’s damaged heritage sites

Plus: Culture secretary accused of political bias over National Gallery appointment | Walton Family Foundation donates $10 million to the National Gallery of Art | Unseen Freud self-portrait to go on display at National Portrait Gallery | Istanbul’s Art International Fair postponed | Myrna Ayad appointed as director of Art Dubai

25 April 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Reconstruction to begin on heritage sites in Nepal | Nepalese prime minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli has announced that reconstruction work is to begin on four cultural-heritage sites in Kathmandu, which were damaged by the earthquake that shook the country a year ago today. Some 600 historic sites in Nepal were affected by the earthquake and an estimated 4 million people are still living in temporary shelters. Meanwhile, the World Monuments Fund has announced that a share of a $1 million grant issued in partnership with American Express will be earmarked for the 16th-century Char Narayan Temple, which was reduced to rubble by the disaster.

Culture secretary accused of political bias over National Portrait Gallery appointment | UK culture secretary John Whittingdale has been accused of intervening over the selection of trustees for the National Portrait Gallery, reports The Sunday Times (£). A leaked letter from former public appointments commissioner Sir David Normington criticises the secretary of state for giving ‘preferential consideration’ to Conservative Party donors. According to Normington, Whittingdale demanded a re-run of the official selection process for a new trustee after five individuals with ‘political affiliations’ to the Conservative Party failed to make it to the shortlist. A DCMS spokesman has dismissed the accusations of ‘political interference’ as ‘nonsense’.

Walton Family Foundation donates $10 million to the National Gallery of Art | Washington’s National Gallery of Art has received a $10 million donation from the Walton Family Foundation, established by Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton. The grant is in recognition of the achievements of former NGA director John Wilmerding and will go towards a fund for education in American art named in his honour.

Unseen Freud self-portrait to go on display at National Portrait Gallery | A study for a self-portrait by Lucian Freud that the artist’s estate donated it to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax is to go on show at the National Portrait Gallery. The unfinished work has never been seen in public before and is thought to date from the mid-1980s. According to the Guardian, it will settle £559,773 of tax for the Freud estate, which last year donated an archive of sketchbooks, drawings, and letters to the museum.

Istanbul’s Art International Fair postponed | The Istanbul’s Art International Fair for contemporary art has postponed its fourth edition, planned for September. According to co-founder Sandy Angus: ‘The fair is on hold until we can put together something all the stakeholders and shareholders can buy into.’ He also states that the event will ‘definitely’ take place next year.

Myrna Ayad appointed as director of Art Dubai | Art Dubai has announced the appointment of Lebanese-born critic and editor Myrna Ayad as its new director. Ayad succeeds Antonia Carver, who is moving on to head Art Jameel. Ayad will take up the post on 1 May as the fair prepares for its 11th edition.

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