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Shake-up at French culture ministry

The Independent to Cease Print Edition | 'Paddington Pole' May be Halved in Height | Recommended Reading: Hermann Göring’s Inventaire des Peintures | Jorvik Museum In Need of £2 million to Reopen | Marc Quinn and White Cube Part Ways | Facebook Censors Evelyne Axell Painting

12 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Audrey Azoulay Replaces Fleur Pellerin as France’s Culture Minister | The French government’s surprise cabinet reshuffle has seen President François Hollande’s cultural advisor Audrey Azoulay take Fleur Pellerin’s job as culture minister. Azoulay comes from a solid culture sector background, having previously worked on the culture ministry’s advisory team and at the National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image (French language article). Incidentally, in her time at the École national d’administration, she was also a former classmate of Pellerin: hardly surprising given that institution’s hold on French political life, but good trivia all the same (unless, of course, your name is Fleur Pellerin). The shakeup at the culture ministry has been interpreted as a largely positive change by the press – with Le Figaro going so far as to publish a listicle of Pellerin’s ‘five most memorable gaffes.’ (French language article.)

The Independent to Cease Print Edition | Owner Evgeny Lebedev has confirmed that the Independent is to become an online only title, while its sister publication the i is to be sold to Johnston Press. No word yet on what will become of the paper’s culture desk, but given prevailing trends the outlook does not look hopeful. Among other achievements, the title stands out for its offbeat but high-quality approach to arts coverage, often running features and reviews of exhibitions below the radar of other national newspapers. Art News Daily sincerely hopes that in its new incarnation, the Indy will keep up the good work.

‘Paddington Pole’ May be Halved in Height | Irvine Sellar’s proposed ‘Paddington Pole’ may still get the go-ahead from Westminster Council – albeit on rather less dramatic scale than previously envisioned. According to the Estates Gazette, architect Renzo Piano has produced new sketches that reduce the building’s height by 50%, while expanding its width by the same proportion. As reported here previously, the original plans for the structure attracted sustained criticism, and led to the parties behind the plan taking it back to the drawing board.

Recommended Reading: Hermann Göring’s Inventaire des Peintures | From the complex case of Cornelius Gurlitt to the strange hunt for a ‘Nazi Gold Train’ in Poland, art and other valuables looted during the Second World War are still very much pressing concerns today. Today, the New Yorker runs a story on Hermann Göring’s art collection, the scale of which was quite simply staggering. As Sarah Wildman writes, Göring acquired an average of three paintings per week between 1940 and 1944. The inventory itself was published in French by Flammarion last year, and Wildman’s piece is a fascinating insight to the wider context of Göring’s plunder.

Jorvik Museum In Need of £2 million to Reopen | Since York’s Jorvik Viking Centre was forced to close due to severe flooding last December, its future has hung in the balance. Now, the institution has launched a campaign to raise the £2 million it needs in order to reopen. If the target is met, the museum hopes to reopen next February.

Marc Quinn and White Cube Part Ways | After more than 20 years working with Jay Jopling’s White Cube, a spokesman for the gallery has confirmed that they are no longer working with Marc Quinn. According to The Art Newspaper, Quinn himself has yet to comment on the split. Where, we wonder, will his divisive work take up residence next?

Facebook Censors Evelyne Axell Painting | Museum head-scratching at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which yesterday posted an image of Belgian artist Evelyne Axell’s 1964 painting Ice Cream on its Facebook page, only for the social media site to remove it shortly afterwards on the grounds that it contained ‘excessive amounts of skin or sexual content’. Looking at the supposedly contentious work, a brightly coloured composition depicting a woman licking an ice cream (scandalous!), it’s fair to say that the tech giant’s decision is more than a little ludicrous. Facebook has past form with this sort of prudishness: last month, it took down an image of that most notoriously depraved of public sculptures, Copenhagen Harbour’s effigy of The Little Mermaid.

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