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Draft executive order could require federal buildings to be classical in style

Plus: Looted temple sculpture confiscated by UK police to return to Afghanistan|Gallery Weekend Beijing postponed due to coronavirus outbreak | Félix Marcilhac (1941–2020) | and College Art Association announces recipients of 2020 awards

5 February 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Draft executive order could require US federal buildings to be classical in style | Architectural Record says that it is possession of a draft executive mandating a return to a classical style of architecture for federal buildings. The draft order is titled ‘Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again’. The publication, which said that the White House would have to rewrite the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture (1962), also pointed to the incompatibility of an official architectural style with ‘21st-century liberal democracy’.

Looted temple sculpture confiscated by UK police to return to Afghanistan | An ancient limestone sculpture excavated at Surkh Kotal in Afghanistan during the 1950s will return to the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, where it was looted during the Afghan civil war (1992–94). The second-century work, which was part of a composite frieze that adorned a temple sanctuary, came to the attention of the Metropolitan Police in London last year after the Art Loss Register, an international database of stolen art, reported its listing on online auction house Timeline Auctions. The sculpture will go on display at the British Museum, which assisted in the work’s recovery, before being returned to Kabul later this year.

Gallery Weekend Beijing postponed due to coronavirus outbreak | One of Beijing’s biggest art events has been forced to postpone its 2020 edition due to the spread of coronavirus in China. Gallery Weekend Beijing, which was scheduled for March, has been delayed until mid-April, but could be cancelled altogether if conditions worsen. The X Museum, one of Gallery Weekend Beijing’s biggest attractions, announced earlier this week that it would delay its March opening due to the outbreak.

Félix Marcilhac (1941–2020) | Félix Marcilhac, the Parisian art historian and dealer known for his collection of art deco and art nouveau objects, has died at the age of 78. Born in 1941, Marcilhac studied for degrees in economics and art history before opening a gallery specialising in art deco on Rue Bonaparte in Paris in 1969. Marcilhac amassed a private collection of 300 objects, the entirety of which was sold at Sotheby’s in 2014 for a total of €24.7 million, tripling the low estimate for the auction. In addition to his collecting, Marcilhac wrote monographs on the French painter Jacques Majorelle and the artist and interior designer Jean Dunand, among others.

College Art Association announces recipients of 2020 awards | The College Art Association (CAA) has announced the recipients and finalists of its 2020 CAA Awards for Distinction. Eleanor Antin, Darby English, Joseph Leo Koerner, Maud K. Lavin, and Harriet Senie are among those who will receive awards for outstanding contributions to the visual arts, teaching and art criticism at a ceremony during the CAA Annual Conference on 12 February at the Hilton Chicago.

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