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Sonia Boyce to represent UK at 59th Venice Biennale in 2021

Plus: Court dismisses privacy appeal against Tate Modern viewing platform | Native American burial sites destroyed to construct US-Mexico border wall | Hong Kong Arts Festival cancelled due to coronavirus | and Mat Collishaw parts company with Blain Southern gallery

12 February 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Sonia Boyce to represent UK at 59th Venice Biennale in 2021 | The British Council announced today that Sonia Boyce will represent the UK at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2021, making history as the first black woman to do so. Boyce, whose practice encompasses photography, drawing and performance and addresses themes of gender and race, previously participated in a group exhibition at the biennale’s 56th edition in 2015. A professor and chair in Black Art & Design at the University of Arts, London, she was elected as a Royal Academician in 2016 and awarded an OBE for services to art in the Queen’s 2019 New Year Honours List.

Court dismisses privacy appeal against Tate Modern viewing platform | The appeal by residents of a luxury apartment complex next to Tate Modern, made against a February ruling in favour of the gallery, was dismissed today in a London court. The appeal challenged Mr Justice Mann’s decision to reject the residents’ application for an injunction against Tate Modern, which would have required it to cordon off sections of its public viewing platform or install screens so that visitors would not be able to see into the glass-walled private flats in the Neo Bankside development. In his announcement of the decision, master of the rolls Sir Terence Etherton said that ‘overlooking does not fall within the tort of nuisance’ and stated that the residents’ application for permission to appeal to the supreme court has also been refused.

Native American burial sites destroyed to construct US-Mexico border wall | Sacred Native American burial sites at Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument have been destroyed, the result of ‘controlled blasting’ carried out by construction crews working on the US-Mexico border wall. Organ Pipe, public land which was declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976, contains the site of Monument Hill, where the Tohono O’odham once buried warriors from the opposing Apache tribe. Democratic congressman Raúl Grijalva has claimed that the government failed to inform the Tohono O’odham Nation of its plans, sanctioned by the Trump administration under the 2005 REAL ID Act, which allows federal government to waive laws in conflict with US national security policy.

Hong Kong Arts Festival cancelled due to coronavirus | The organisers of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, which features dance, music, theatre and opera and was set to run from 21 February–23 March,  have cancelled the 2020 edition in its entirety due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The executive director Tisa Ho-Kar-kuan has issued a statement explaining that the ‘safety of our audience, participating artists and staff is our top priority’ but that her team is working ‘to explore the possibility of rescheduling some of the productions in the near future’. Many of the fair’s venues, which are managed by the government, had been closed indefinitely in order to prevent large gatherings.

Mat Collishaw parts company with Blain Southern gallery | British artist Mat Collishaw announced yesterday on Instagram that he has ‘parted company’ with Blain Southern gallery, which has represented him since 2007. He added that the move would take immediate effect.