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Steven A. Cohen donates $50m to MoMA

Plus: Franz West’s family win court battle over artist’s estate | Survey suggests that 98 per cent of Australians ‘engage with the arts’ | and George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art gets the go-ahead

28 June 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Steven Cohen donates $50m to MoMA | New York’s Museum of Modern Art has received a donation of $50m from the philanthropic foundation of collector and businessman Steven A. Cohen and his wife, Alexandra, reports the New York Times. The donation marks another significant milestone for the museum’s $400m expansion project, and in recognition of the gift, MoMA’s largest contiguous gallery will be named in honour of the couple.

Franz West’s family win court battle over artist’s estate | A court in Vienna has ruled in favour of the family of the late sculptor Franz West in a long-running court battle over his legacy. West’s family say that a foundation established just days before the artist’s death, which held responsibility for his rights and assets, was based on an improper contract. According to the Art Newspaper, the court’s decision means that the Franz West Private Foundation must turn over all remaining assets and proceeds from any items sold since the artist’s death to his two children and their legal guardian. The foundation has yet to appeal the ruling.

Survey suggests that 98 per cent of Australians ‘engage with the arts’ | A survey conducted by the Australia Council has found that the arts play a role in the lives of 98 per cent of Australia’s population. The study, a follow-up to previous surveys in 2009 and 2013, found that increasing numbers Australians were engaging with cultural activities online, and that people – particularly the young – say that the arts have a ‘positive impact’ on their lives. However, the findings have caused some to question the government’s arts funding, which is weighted towards the performing arts rather than more popular musical, literary and digital projects. In the Guardian, Ben Eltham argues that the Austalia Council’s priorities are ‘wildly out of sync with this data’.

George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art gets the go-ahead | Los Angeles City Council has approved George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art in an unanimous 14–0 vote, reports the Los Angeles Times. Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson both addressed the council before the vote took place. The museum, designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, will be built in the city’s Exposition Park and construction is expected to begin in 2018.

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