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Shadow culture secretary axed in Labour reshuffle

5 January 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

UK Opposition’s Culture Spokesman Sacked | UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s long mooted shadow cabinet reshuffle has claimed its first casualty: shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher. Dugher, who had previously gone on record stating that he thought a reshuffle was unlikely, announced his departure from the culture post on Twitter this morning. According to the MP, Corbyn had objected to critical public statements he had made of late, prompting accusations of hypocrisy on the part of the famously disobedient Labour chief. Dugher had recently advocated an extension to the time limit of export bars, and spoken in favour of establishing a new museum for state owned works of art not on public display. Was Dugher simply expendable? And what’s the betting Chris Bryant will be back in his old job by the end of the week?

Nero’s Golden Palace Among Beneficiaries of Italy’s New Cultural Heritage Budget | Following Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s pledge to pump €300 million into the maintenance of Italy’s cultural heritage, the sites earmarked for the cash boost have been named. According to Reuters, recipients of the funding will include the Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea palace in Rome, the city walls of Siena and various projects in the financially troubled city of Venice. As reported in Apollo on various occasions last year, the funding injection is sorely needed. But will €300 million really be enough?

Wildenstein Trial Opens in Paris | Businessman and art dealer Guy Wildenstein has gone on trial for tax fraud at Paris’s Palais de Justice along with several other members of his family. Mr Wildenstein, 70, has been accused of hiding assets thought to be worth hundreds of millions of Euros, and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The trial has sparked enormous interest in the French popular media, which has dubbed the affair ‘Dallas-sur-Seine(French language article).

Are we in for an Art Market Slump? | Yes, once again, it’s time to ask the familiar question. At the BBC, Jeremy Howell wonders whether the sales of Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger, Version O and Modigliani’s Nu Couché represented a high water mark of this particular market cycle. In the New York Times, Scott Reyburn argues that Old Master paintings have ‘fallen out of fashion and are no longer as coveted by collectors and investors’. For balance, investigate Bendor Grosvenor’s response to the latter piece in which he wishes that ‘others would stop claiming to see any writing on the wall before it’s actually appeared’.

Richard Prince Sued for Copyright Infringement | Photographer Donald Graham has taken Richard Prince to court, claiming that the artist knowingly appropriated one of his images without permission. You could be forgiven a pang of déjà vu: whatever its merits, the nature of Prince’s appropriative art means he is no stranger to such claims. If it helps, Prince can take comfort in the fact that his 1980s peer Jeff Koons is currently experiencing similar woes.