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Turkey plans museum dedicated to ‘martyrs’ of failed coup

Plus: Concerns over planned Academy Museum in LA | Ai Weiwei criticises Hong Kong after HSBC bank account refusal | Artists’ Pension Trust withdraws 18 lots from Sotheby’s | Getty Museum evacuated | Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017)

19 April 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Turkey plans museum devoted to failed coup | Turkey’s culture ministry is reportedly planning a museum focused on last summer’s failed coup attempt. The Museum of the 15 July: Martyrs and Democracy is to be constructed outside Ankara, the Turkish capital, and will commemorate the ‘martyrs and warriors’ who foiled a plot by parts of the Turkish military to oust president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Work is expected to start in June, with the intention of opening the institution in 2018. The plans were reported by the state-run Anadolu news agency ahead of last weekend’s constitutional referendum, the result of which could grant Erdoğan significant new executive powers.

Concerns over planned Academy Museum in LA | The Renzo Piano-designed Academy Museum currently under construction in Los Angeles is facing significant obstacles, reports Variety. Ground was broken on the site of the planned museum in March 2016, but the project is facing fundraising difficulties and is reportedly now running two years behind schedule. The official budget has risen from $250m to $388m, and sources at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences believe this figure could rise even higher. Doubts have been raised as to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson’s leadership on the project, with critics claiming she has ‘delegated too much authority’ to Piano.

Ai Weiwei criticises Hong Kong after HSBC bank account refusal | Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has criticised banking giant HSBC, which he believes rejected his application to open a bank account in Hong Kong for political reasons. Ai, who recently unveiled plans for a politically charged show in New York, used Instagram to call Hong Kong’s autonomy from the Chinese mainland into question. ‘I’m in Hong Kong, trying to open an account at HSBC. My request was refused due to a “commercial decision” from the headquarter (sic). This has not happened to me in Beijing. Maybe “one country, one system” is better’, he wrote, referring to the ‘one country, two systems’ policy of governance that has been in force in the former British colony since its handover to China in 1997.

Artists Pension Trust withdraws 18 lots from Sotheby’s | Last week, the Artists Pension Trust – an investment scheme aimed at providing financial security for contemporary artists – withdrew 18 lots estimated to fetch around £200,000 from a sale at Sotheby’s in London. Among the works were pieces by Jeremy Deller, Ryan Gander and Jane and Louise Wilson. They were reportedly withdrawn because participating artists and gallerists believed an auction sale was ‘not in their best interests’ – despite the success of a similar sale in New York last month. For further analysis, see Colin Gleadell’s commentary in the Telegraph.

Getty Museum evacuated | An evacuation was ordered at the Getty Museum on Tuesday afternoon after staff at the Los Angeles institution received a threat from an anonymous caller. According to ABC News, museum officials immediately contacted the police and visitors were instructed to vacate the premises. The Getty remained closed for the rest of the day as the LAPD bomb squad inspected the facility.

Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017) | The artist Barkley L. Hendricks has died at the age of 72. Best known for his striking portraits of black sitters, Hendricks has been an important presence on the American art scene since the 1960s. In 2008 he was accorded a retrospective at the Nasher Museum that subsequently travelled to Harlem’s Studio Museum, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. ‘He was a true artist’s artist, always dedicated to his singular vision’, his gallery, Jack Shainman, said in a statement. ‘He was a figurative painter when it was trendy and especially when it wasn’t’.

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