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UN adopts resolution to protect cultural heritage

Plus: Thomas Krens questions Guggenheim Abu Dhabi scheme | Christie’s calls off June postwar and contemporary sales | Phillips appoints Laurence Calmels as regional director for France | and recommended reading

27 March 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

UN passes resolution to safeguard cultural heritage | The UN Security Council has passed a resolution to strengthen the protection of cultural heritage sites, calling for further international cooperation in combating acts of looting and wanton vandalism. The resolution will ensure that, under ‘certain circumstances’, the perpetrators of such crimes may be charged with committing war crimes. UNESCO director general Irina Bokova welcomed the resolution, telling the Council that ‘the deliberate destruction of heritage is a war crime – it has become a tactic of war, in a global strategy of cultural cleansing.’

Thomas Krens expresses doubts about Guggenheim Abu Dhabi satellite | Thomas Krens, the former director of the Guggenheim Foundation in New York, has voiced doubts as to the wisdom of a scheme to open a satellite Guggenheim museum in Abu Dhabi. Krens, who brokered the original deal to establish the museum in the Gulf emirate, told Art Agency, Partners’s podcast In Other Words that such a deal ‘could never have happened’ today. ‘People were far more naive’ when the project was first mooted, he said, voicing concerns over terrorism in the Middle East. A spokesperson from the Guggenheim confirmed that the institution ‘remained committed’ to the Abu Dhabi venture.

Christie’s calls off June postwar and contemporary sales | Christie’s has cancelled its postwar and contemporary sales in London in June, the Art Newspaper reports. On Friday, the auction house confirmed its plans to scrap the June auctions, citing the fact that with Documenta 14, the Venice Biennale and Art Basel all taking place within months of each other, it is a ‘particularly busy’ summer for collectors. The move follows a series of shake ups at Christie’s, which will now focus its contemporary sales in March and October.

Phillips appoints Laurence Calmels as regional director for France | Independent art advisor Laurence Calmels is to take on the role of regional director for France at Phillips. Calmels, who was a partner at Paris auction house Calmels-Cohen before becoming an art advisor, will work to expand Phillips’s presence in France. ‘Phillips is building a strong reputation as an exciting and forward-looking auction house and there is great momentum at the company,’ she said in a statement. ‘I look forward to helping the company expand its reach and working with its very talented group of specialists.’

Recommended reading | In a highly quotable and very long piece for the London Review of Books, Iain Sinclair walks around London and finds himself in a city he barely recognises. Another Londoner feeling out of place is the sculptor Rachel Whiteread, who, speaking to the Observer’s Eva Wiseman, talks about moving out of Shoreditch, the now gentrified district where she lived for 20 years. ‘Twenty years ago we bought and converted an old synagogue, but the area changed. Nobody lives there now,’ she says. ‘They call it the “art effect”. Foxtons sniff around the artists, because they’re resourceful people, pioneers, who find the interesting seed of a place, and that energy and creativity grows until they price themselves out.’

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