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Tokyo stadium row rumbles on

19 January 2016

Our daily round up of news from the art world

Kengo Kuma Responds to Zaha Hadid’s Accusations of Plagiarism | Architect Kengo Kuma has hit back at Zaha Hadid for accusing him of ‘plagiarism’ over his plans for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. Hadid’s firm, whose original proposal for the stadium was dropped by the Japanese government last year over cost worries, had suggested that Kuma’s new design had ‘remarkable similarities’ to her own. ‘I would like to say there are no similarities at all’, Kuma stated, conceding that due to the nature of the commission, there were bound to be points where the designs overlapped. Hadid is currently involved in a stand off with the Tokyo Olympics commission, who have refused to pay her for her work on the abandoned project until she surrenders all copyright to it and signs a gagging order.

Boris Johnson Approves Norton Folgate Development | London mayor Boris Johnson has approved a controversial development in a historic area of London. As reported yesterday, Johnson had personally called in developer British Land’s proposal for office blocks to be built on the site of Victorian warehouses in the central London district of Norton Folgate after it was turned down by the local authority. The mayor’s final decision has sparked outrage from many quarters, and calls his record for conservation and heritage while in office into serious question. As stated in the FT’s breaking report (£), the debate echoes sentiments across the UK, but particularly across London.

‘Satanic’ Sculptures Seized by Police in Lebanon | Around 20 sculptures created by businessman and politician Michel Éléftériadès have been seized by the Lebanese authorities on suspicion that they contain ‘Satanist’ symbols, reports Le Figaro (French language article). Éléftériadès, a controversial figure who has survived several assassination attempts, has condemned the accusations of ‘Satanism’ – deemed an insult to faith in Lebanon – as a ‘plot’ to undermine him (French language article), orchestrated by the Christian Forces Libanaises political party.

Deborah de Robertis Released | After being arrested at the Musée d’Orsay for indecent exposure, artist Deborah de Robertis has been released by French authorities. Predictably, there have been some strong reactions to the ‘performance’ she staged, which involved stripping naked in front of Manet’s Olympia. The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones has attacked the Musée d’Orsay for its ‘absurd hypocrisy’ in pressing charges against de Robertis. Surely, though, a line must be drawn between art that visitors pay to see and art (if we’re agreed that’s what it is) that gets in their way of seeing it?

SKD Acquires Major Kirchner Work | The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden has announced the acquisition of Street Picture in front of the Hair Salon, a landmark 1926 painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German language article.) Aside from ranking as one of Kirchner’s greatest works, the painting has an altogether more macabre significance: in 1933, it was exhibited in notorious the Nazi sanctioned ‘Degenerate Art’ show held at the Neues Rathaus, before being confiscated from the Dresdner Galerie for good. Outgoing SKD director Hartwig Fischer has described it as a ‘decisive addition’ to the city’s collections.