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Rome’s National Museum of Oriental Art is closing

Plus: 14th-century cave art found on uninhabited Caribbean island | Massachusetts attorney general files to halt Berkshire Museum sale | Dia Art Foundation directorship is endowed by Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg | and recommended reading

31 October 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Rome’s National Museum of Oriental Art is closing | The Italian ministry of cultural heritage is going ahead with its controversial decision to close the building that houses the Giuseppe Tucci National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome’s Palazzo Brancaccio, which opened to the public for the final time today (Il Giornale d’Italia; Italian language article). The 19th-century palace in the city centre was established in 1958 as a home to over 40,000 objects from the Middle and Far East. Despite numerous petitions and appeals, as of tomorrow the building will be permanently closed, with plans underway to reinstall the collection in a much smaller space in the EUR district south of the city centre.

14th-century cave art found on uninhabited Caribbean island | Archaeologists exploring the cave systems of Puerto Rico’s uninhabited Mona island in the Caribbean have published a study announcing the discovery of thousands of drawings by the indigenous Taíno people, who populated the Caribbean until the Spanish conquest in the 15th century. Scientific tests suggest that the works, which have been found in over 30 caves so far and now constitute the world’s largest concentration of Taíno art, probably date from the 14th and 15th centuries. The Independent’s report contains further details of the research findings.

Massachusetts attorney general files to halt Berkshire Museum sale | The Massachusetts attorney general’s office has submitted a filing to the Berkshire Superior Court calling for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, which is currently scheduled to begin auctioning off works from its collection on 13 November. The brief, filed yesterday, says that an assessment of the museum’s plans is currently underway and ‘there are a number of aspects that raise concerns’, but the review has not yet been completed and more time is required. A hearing on the potential injunction will be heard tomorrow, along with a scheduled hearing on the suit brought last week by the family of Norman Rockwell (one of the artists whose work is included in the planned sale).

Dia Art Foundation directorship is endowed by Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg | The directorship at the Dia Art Foundation in New York state has been endowed for the future thanks to a gift from Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg, it was announced yesterday. The post, held by Jessica Morgan for the past two years, will be renamed for Nathalie de Gunzburg, who is chair of the institution.

Recommended reading | The Art Newspaper has published a piece about a cyber crime-wave hitting art galleries, in which hackers intercept invoices sent between dealers and clients. There are some useful tips at the bottom of the article on how to avoid email fraud.

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