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The art world responds to Trump’s presidential victory

Plus: Austrian authorities arrest suspects in connection with Picasso forgeries | Wall Street Journal to reduce arts and culture coverage | Yasser Arafat museum to open in late Fatah leader’s former Ramallah HQ | and Welsh government says fears over museum sector ‘unfounded’

9 November 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Art world responds to Trump victory | ‘It’s a dark day in America’ begins an email sent to subscribers by Hrag Vartanian, editor of the Hyperallergic blog, in response to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in yesterday’s US general election. ‘A vision of one hope-filled America may have died tonight,’ he concluded in a sentiment echoed by many in the arts community in the US and beyond. Prominent American artists including Rashid Johnson, Deborah Kass and Jeff Koons had all expressed support for Hillary Clinton, as had collectors Tico Mugrabi and Aby Rosen. In Britain, meanwhile, artist Cornelia Parker told The Art Newspaper that she was ‘catatonic with shock’, while others including Jake Chapman and Grayson Perry responded with disbelief on social media. Markets plunged as a Trump victory became more probable last night, but settled as today progressed – what this means for the wider art world is as yet unclear.

Austrian authorities arrest suspects in connection with Picasso forgeries | Austrian authorities have announced the arrest of six suspects in connection with a spate of forgeries of works by artists including Chagall and Picasso, reports the New York Times. According to the country’s criminal intelligence service, officers posing as art buyers met the suspects in a Vienna hotel. The suspects allegedly attempted to sell the fakes on for around $10 million apiece, and are said to have told law officers that they believed the works were genuine.

Wall Street Journal to reduce arts and culture coverage | Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker has announced that his paper is to ‘restructure’ its print edition due to declining advertising revenue (£), which will see significant cuts to coverage of arts and culture. These areas will be merged with sports and lifestyle coverage to create a new section called ‘Life & Arts’. ‘I want to stress that these changes and their ramifications for the newsroom are necessary not just because we must adjust to changing conditions in the print advertising business, but because we know from audience research that readers want a more digestible newspaper’, Baker said.

Yasser Arafat museum to open in late Fatah leader’s former Ramallah HQ | Le Figaro reports that a museum dedicated to the late Fatah leader Yasser Arafat is to open on the premises of the Ramallah complex he occupied for much of his final decade (French language article). Opening this week, the museum, which cost around $7 million to construct, will chronicle Arafat’s life and by extension the last century of Palestinian history.

Welsh government says fears over museum sector ‘unfounded’ | Welsh economy secretary Ken Skates has insisted that plans for a merger between the seven branches of the National Museum of Wales and Cadw, a government organisation responsible for historic sites, will not undermine the independence of the respective bodies. ‘It’s not a question of whether institutions should remain independent, of course they should. It’s about how they can work together to benefit the entire sector,’ Skates told BBC Wales. However, the Museums Association has expressed ‘deep concern’ over the merger, which it describes as a ‘clear threat’ to the future of Welsh museums.

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