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Susan Hiller (1940–2019)

Plus: Row over British Museum director’s comments on Elgin Marbles | London’s Royal College of Art launches regeneration programme | and Assyrian sculptures in Scottish mansion sold abroad

29 January 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Susan Hiller (1940–2019) | The conceptual artist Susan Hiller has died at the age of 78. Hiller established herself at the forefront of the avant-garde in London during the 1960s, after moving to the UK from the US. She was one of the first conceptual artists to make use of sound, and pioneered the incorporation of other multimedia technologies as well as archival materials to explore long-standing interests in language, dreams, and the paranormal. Major exhibitions of Hiller’s work include a retrospective at Tate Britain in 2011. For Isabel Stevens’ interview with the artist first published in the January 2016 issue of Apollo, click here.

Row over British Museum director’s comments on Elgin Marbles | Remarks made by British Museum director Hartwig Fischer on the Elgin Marbles have caused controversy, the Guardian reports. In an interview for the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Fischer appeared to suggest that the removal of the sculptures from Greece in the 19th century was a ‘creative act’, as well as ruling out the return of the marbles to Athens – a stance that has sparked anger among many in Greece.

London’s Royal College of Art launches regeneration programme | The Royal College of Art in London has launched GenerationRCA, a five-year regeneration project that will see a new facility designed by Herzog & de Meuron built near the college’s current Battersea campus, as well as the establishment of a scholarship endowment fund and a range of new programming. The Sigrid Rausing Trust has made a donation of £15m to the project.

Assyrian sculptures in Scottish mansion sold abroad | A pair of Assyrian relief sculptures dating to the 8th century BC, housed in a Scottish mansion since the 19th century, have been removed and sold abroad despite expert advice that the export licence ought to be deferred, the Art Newspaper reports. The reliefs were acquired in Baghdad in 1856 by the 9th Marquess of Lothian, who installed them in Newbattle Abbey near Edinburgh. It is reported that they were sold to a European dealer for £8m last June, by Newbattle Abbey College and the current Marquess of Lothian, the Conservative peer Michael Ancram.