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Spanish government exhumes Franco’s remains from Valley of the Fallen

Plus: FBI recovers Nazi-looted painting from Arkell Museum | Art organisations in Beirut close amid protests | and Karen Rifas wins Michael Richards award

24 October 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

Spanish government exhumes Franco’s remains from Valley of the Fallen | The Spanish government has removed the remains of Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen monument near Madrid. In August 2018, the government passed a decree to exhume the remains of the country’s former dictator from the mausoleum, which was conceived by Franco as a monument to the dead of the Spanish civil war, almost 34,000 of whom are also buried at the site. Critics have argued that veneration of Franco at the mausoleum distracts from its original purpose. The remains will be reinterred at Mingorrubio municipal cemetery in El Pardo, where Franco’s wife is also buried.

FBI recovers Nazi-looted painting from Arkell Museum | The US Federal Bureau of Investigations has established that a painting in the collection of the Arkell Museum in upstate New York was stolen by the Nazis from the family of the Jewish collector and publisher Rudolf Mosse. The museum has waived all title to the painting – a scene of ice skaters called Winter, by Gari Melchers – which is now in the custody of the FBI and will be returned next year to Mosse’s heirs, who in 2012 established the Mosse Art Restitution Project to track down their ancestor’s dispersed collection.

Art organisations in Beirut close amid protests | A number of museums, galleries and foundations in the Beirut have closed to the public, amid large-scale anti-government demonstrations in the Lebanese capital. Beirut Art Center, the Sursock Museum and Ashkal Alwan are among those that have closed their doors; a spokesperson for the foundation Dar El-Nimer, which has also closed, told Artnet News: ‘Like everyone else in Lebanon, we took to the streets.’ Around two million people are estimated to have taken part in the protests, which began seven days ago.

Karen Rifas wins Michael Richards award | Oolite Arts, a Miami-based non-profit organisation, has announced the winners of its annual visual arts awards, known as the Ellies. Karen Rifas has won the Michael Richards prize, the largest of the Ellies, which comes with an award of $75,000 and a commission for the Bass museum in Miami Beach; a total of 44 smaller grants, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000, were also awarded.

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