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US and Israel withdraw from UNESCO

Plus: MFA Boston receives major gift of Dutch and Flemish art | Alistair Hudson appointed head of Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth | Tobias Meyer to advise on Newhouse Collection | and three artists awarded MacArthur ‘genius’ grants

12 October 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

US and Israel withdraw from UNESCO | The United States of America and Israel are to withdraw from UNESCO, the multilateral body specialising in culture, education and development. The Trump administration announced its decision to quit the organisation on Thursday, accusing it of ‘anti-Israel’ bias. Israel soon followed suit, with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu praising the US’s ‘brave and moral’ decision. The US was a founding member of the organisation in 1946, but has withdrawn once before under the Reagan administration in 1984 (rejoining in 2002). The US has challenged UNESCO’s attitude to Israel on several occasions in recent years: the Obama administration cut funding in 2011 after the agency granted full membership to Palestine, and earlier this year US and Israeli official strongly criticised the decision to list the Old City of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. The US withdrawal will take effect at the end of 2018.

MFA Boston receives major gift of Dutch and Flemish art | The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has announced the acquisition of two major groups of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art. Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie, all of whom are longtime supporters of the museum, have committed to donating their private collections. The combined bequest of 113 works by 76 artists is the largest in the MFA’s history. Among the highlights are works by Van Dyck, Rubens and Jan Steen, as well as Rembrandt’s celebrated Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh (1632). The donors have also pledged funding to establish a new research centre for Netherlandish art, and the Van Otterloos have promised more than 20,000 monologues, catalogues and books to form a specialist library.

Alistair Hudson appointed head of Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth | Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) director Alistair Hudson has been chosen to succeed Maria Balshaw as head of both the Manchester Art Gallery and the University of Manchester’s Whitworth. Hudson has led the Middlesbrough institution since 2014, having previously worked at Grizedale Arts, the Government Art Collection and with Anthony D’Offay.

Tobias Meyer to advise on Newhouse Collection | Former Sotheby’s principal auctioneer Tobias Meyer has been hired to advise on and represent the art collection of the late Si Newhouse, reports the New York Times. Newhouse, who died earlier this month, was a prolific collector of modern art, amassing works by artists including Lucian Freud, Andy Warhol and Mondrian. ‘Mr. Meyer is working closely with us on all matters related to the art collection, and will be advising us in the coming months and years,’ the family confirmed in a statement.

Three artists awarded MacArthur ‘genius’ grants | Dawoud Bey, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Trevor Paglen are among the 24 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Foundation’s ‘genius’ awards celebrating individuals who have ‘shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.’ Each will receive a total of $625,000 over a five-year period, which they are free to use as they please.

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