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Turkish government suspends archaeological work at Ephesus

7 September 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Turkish government shuts down archaeological work at Ephesus | Work by the Austrian Archaeological Institute at a dig site in Ephesus, Turkey, has been brought to a premature halt by the host country’s government. The interruption comes against a backdrop of crackdowns on cultural freedoms in Turkey following July’s botched coup attempt, and worsening diplomatic relations with Austria, whose chancellor Christian Kern suggested ending EU accession talks with the country. ‘I regret this decision very much because it mixes politics and science,’ Austrian vice chancellor and science minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said in a statement. ‘[It] is inconsistent with the partnership that we have fostered over many years in Ephesus.’ Conservation work on the site had been due to continue for a further two months.

Thirty-eight convicted over Drouot thefts | After a high-profile trial, Paris’s Criminal Court yesterday convicted 38 of 49 defendants over a series of thefts connected to the Hôtel Drouot’s art handlers’ union, which was itself dissolved. The Union des commissionnaires de l’Hôtel des Ventes (UCHV), known as the ‘cols rouges’ due to their distinctive uniform, was brought to account over claims that members had participated in activities including organised theft and taking receipt of stolen goods. According to The Art Newspaper, defendants found guilty were handed sentences of up to three years and fined as much as €60,000.

Museum of Arts and Design names Jorge Daniel Veneciano as director | New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) has appointed Jorge Daniel Veneciano as its next director, effective as of next month. Veneciano, who stepped down as  executive director of the city’s El Museo del Barrio last month, succeeds Glenn Adamson, who resigned from MAD in March. ‘I have been enthralled with MAD ever since it opened on Columbus Circle,’ Veneciano said in a statement issued by the museum. ‘MAD is brimming with potential, and I am excited to work with its passionate board and staff in directing the Museum to its destiny of leadership among New York institutions.’

Steve McQueen wins Johannes Vermeer Art Award | Dutch culture minister Dr Jet Bussemaker today announced British artist and film maker Steve McQueen as the recipient of this year’s Johannes Vermeer Award, the Netherlands’ state prize for the arts. The award grants McQueen €100,000 in order to fund a ‘special project’. The official ceremony will take place at The Hague’s Ridderzaal in November. Click here for a review of McQueen’s short film, Ashes.

London’s Lincoln Plaza named ‘worst new building in UK’ | Building Design has named Lincoln Plaza, a development by BUJ Architects on London’s Isle of Dogs, as the recipient of this year’s ‘Carbuncle Cup’, an award intended to recognise Britain’s worst new building. ‘In its bilious cladding, chaotic form, adhesive balconies and frenzied facades, it exhibits the absolute worst in shambolic architectural design and cheap visual gimmickry’, panel judge Ike Ijeh wrote in BD.