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Site of Kurt Schwitters’ last major art project at risk

23 May 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Kurt Schwitters’s Merz Barn may be sold | Kurt Schwitters’ unfinished Merz Barn in Elterwater may be sold on the open market, reports the Art Newspaper. The artist was working on the building, which he intended to transform into an immersive modernist grotto, when he died in 1948. It was the last of a handful of similar projects which have been hailed as early examples of installation art. The only completed interior wall was removed to the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle in 1958, but the building itself still stands. Artists Ian Hunter and Celia Larner, who maintain the Lake District site, say that there may be no alternative to the sale after Arts Council England rejected a funding application for the fourth time.

Man arrested after falsely touting Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum paintings | A man was arrested on wire fraud charges on Monday after soliciting online buyers for two artworks that were stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Todd Desper, from West Virginia, used Craigslist to falsely suggest that he knew the whereabouts of two of the missing paintings. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, federal prosecutors have concluded that Desper had neither access to nor information about the works, and was implicated in a fraud scheme targeting foreign art buyers.

National Endowment for the Humanities chair resigns | William D. Adams is to step down as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Adams, who has served in the post since his appointment by Barack Obama in 2014, says he is leaving in order to concentrate on scholarship. Deputy chair Margaret Plympton will assume the role until a new chair is selected.

Jenny Gibbs to join Sotheby’s Institute of Art | Jenny Gibbs, executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum, is stepping down to lead Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s graduate programme. Gibbs, who has held her current post since 2014, will remain connected to EAM as a consultant.