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Science Museum workers go on strike over low pay

Plus: French court rules against return of paintings to heirs of Jewish collector | Howardena Pindell receives Artists’ Legacy Foundations 2019 award | and designs for Paisley Museums £42 million revamp revealed

30 August 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

Science Museum workers go on strike over low pay | Staff working for the Science Museum Group (SMG) in the United Kingdom have launched a 24-hour strike in protest over low pay. The organisation, which has been criticised for failing to provide employees with the National Living Wage (£8.21 per hour) while decreasing pay by 13 per cent in real terms in the past four years, offered a pay increase of 1.5 per cent to more than 75 per cent of its staff this year, which is below the rate of inflation. Earlier today, employees picketed outside the SMGs sites in London, Manchester, Bradford, York and Shildon in County Durham, where some activities will not run this weekend due to the strike. Prospect, the union negotiating with the SMG, have attempted to reach an agreement, but the group has cited financial constraints as the reason for being unable to meet demands.

French court rules against return of paintings to heirs of Jewish collector | A court in Marseille yesterday ruled that three paintings by André Derain will not be transferred to the family of Jewish collector René Gimpel. Four of Gimpels heirs, including granddaughter Claire Touchard, have fought a six-year court battle in an attempt to prove that the works were illegally acquired by the French state after Nazi occupation. The family’s lawyers argued that the paintings, produced between 1907 and 1910, had been purchased by Gimpel in 1921 before being resold and retitled, but the French court ruled that there were ‘persistent uncertainties over the identification of the pictures’. The family plans to appeal the court’s decision; meanwhile the paintings will remain at the Modern Art Museum of Troyes and Cantini Museum in Marseille.

Howardena Pindell receives Artists’ Legacy Foundations 2019 award | The Artists’ Legacy Foundation has announced that Howardena Pindell is the winner of its 2019 Artist Award. Across a five-decade career, Pindell, the first African American woman to gain an MFA from Yale University and the first African American woman curator at MoMA in New York, has developed a form of abstraction tackling social issues such as racism and feminism. The $25,000 accolade, set up by the Oakland foundation in 2007 with a bequest from the late sculptor Viola Frey (d. 2004), is awarded year to either a painter or sculptor who has made outstanding contributions in their field.

Designs for Paisley Museums £42 million revamp revealed | As a four-year redevelopment project gets underway, the first designs for Scotland’s new Paisley Museum have been revealed. The museum hopes that the £42m renovation, which includes a red-glazed entrance hall and courtyard, a new west wing and an outdoor garden, will increase visitor numbers to 125,000 after its completion in 2022, bringing £72m to the local economy during the 30 years following its reopening. The revamp, which has been designed by London architects AL_A with funding from the Renfrewshire Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government, will expand upon the Victorian building of the original museum, which opened in 1871.

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