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Russian dissident disqualified from top art prize

17 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Pyotr Pavlensky Removed from Russia’s Top Art Prize | Dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky is out of the running for Russia’s Innovatsiya prize. Pavlensky, whose attention grabbing stunts have included nailing his genitals to Moscow’s Red Square, was nominated for a piece in which he set fire to the doors of the headquarters of Russia’s security services – a performance that has now been disqualified for violating the law. Several prominent figures have since quit the prize’s selection committee, citing the ‘repressive machinery of the state’ for pressuring Pavlensky’s disqualification. Pavlensky himself has been committed to a psychiatric hospital known as a lock up for dissidents in the Soviet era.

Putin Furious Over the State of Russian Heritage Attractions | On the other side of the argument, Vladimir Putin has hit out at officials over the state of Russia’s heritage sites. Last year, according to The Art Newspaper, some 80 national monuments were lost due to negligence or demolition. If reports in the country’s media are to be believed, Putin’s intervention has prompted the resignation of top heritage official Mikhail Bryzgalov, who has since been reappointed as director of the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture. The Kremlin, however, has denied all links to Bryzgalov’s career change.

Italy Sets up UNESCO Taskforce to Preserve Cultural Heritage | The Italian government and UNESCO have set up a new taskforce to protect heritage sites in conflict zones. If all goes to plan, the taskforce will be charged with planning conservation efforts, putting a stop to looting, assessing damage and training local restorers. Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini has described the initiative as ‘an Italian success in the name of the defence of culture and civilisation.’

Bruce Boucher Named as New Soane’s Museum Director | Bruce Boucher, currently director of the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, has been named as the successor to outgoing Sir John Soane’s Museum head Abraham Thomas. Boucher, an Italian Renaissance specialist, has a glittering track record, with over 40 years of experience in the field. He has been at the Fralin since 2009, and overseen a major renovation of the museum.

Man Accused of Complicity in Knoedler Forgeries Can be Extradited to US | Jesus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, the Spanish art dealer accused of commissioning fake Abstract Expressionist paintings for dealer Glafira Rosales, can now face charges in New York, says Spain’s national court. Diaz was arrested at a Seville hotel in 2014 in connection with the Knoedler case.

‘Is Kanye West Hip-Hop’s Greatest Cubist?’ | Asks the Guardian’s Jonathan Jones in the wake of the controversial rapper namechecking Picasso in the title of his latest album. Well is he?