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Sotheby’s takes Greek culture ministry to court

Plus: Dia Art Foundation to expand in New York | Report finds nearly 50 Confederate monuments removed since 2015 | Omar Kholeif leaves MCA Chicago | and Documenta 14 artists voice support for Greek mayor injured by far-right mob

6 June 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Sotheby’s takes Greek culture ministry to court | Sotheby’s has filed a lawsuit against the culture ministry of Greece over its demands for the return of an ancient Greek bronze horse that was due to have been sold through the auction house last month. According to the FT, the Greek culture ministry had contacted Sotheby’s the day before the object’s sale, demanding that it be withdrawn and ultimately returned to Greece. Sotheby’s pulled the statue from the May sale, but it argues that Greece had no right to interfere and that it could not prove the object was stolen or legally removed. It is believed to be the first time that the auction house, which brought the suit together with the owners of the work, has sued a government body.

Report finds nearly 50 Confederate monuments removed since 2015 | A report conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center has discovered that some 47 monuments to the Confederate cause have been removed from sites across the US in the past three years. According to the study, there are still some 772 memorials to Confederate heroes, 108 of which can be found in Virginia and 68 in Texas (incidentally, the state where most of the statue removal has taken place). The SPLC describes such monuments as ‘living symbols of white supremacy’.

Dia Art Foundation to expand in New York | The Dia Art Foundation has revealed ambitious plans to expand its New York spaces, reports The Art Newspaper. The organisation’s three West 22nd Street spaces will be redesigned into a single, 32,500 sq ft facility, two Soho galleries that are home to works by Walter De Maria will get a makeover, and its space at 77 Wooster St will reopen. At Dia:Beacon, in upstate New York, the space will be renovated and some 11,000 sq ft added to its current dimensions. The funding for the project will come from a $78m capital campaign, of which Dia says $60m has already been raised.

Omar Kholeif leaves MCA Chicago | Omar Kholeif, Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, has departed the museum with immediate effect. Kholeif joined the museum in 2015, having previously been a curator at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Kholeif has said that he is looking forward to the next steps in his career and that he is ‘excited to get a moment (in the interim) to spend some more time on my freelance projects’.

Documenta 14 artists voice support for Greek mayor injured by far-right mob | More than 100 artists who participated in last year’s Documenta 14 have signed an open letter in support of Yiannis Boutaris, the mayor of Thessaloniki, who was assaulted by far-right activists last month. The signatories have urged Boutaris to remain committed to Thessaloniki, praising him for his drive towards creating a new Holocaust museum for the city.

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