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V&A announces plans for £13.5m redevelopment of Museum of Childhood

Plus: French court upholds ruling ordering return of Pissarro painting to Jewish heirs | Shirin Aliabadi (1973–2018) | Controversy over planned sale of Kerry James Marshall mural in Chicago | and artists demonstrate against police handling of activist death in Greece

4 October 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

V&A announces £13.5m redevelopment plans for Museum of Childhood | The V&A has announced plans for a £13.5 redevelopment of the Museum of Childhood, hopefully to be completed by 2022. Concept designs have been devised by the architectural firm De Matos Ryan, and include a new interactive installation, a re-landscaped outside play area, and restoration work on the Victorian building. For V&A director Tristram Hunt, the redevelopment is an opportunity to ‘fire imagination, spark ingenuity and become the world’s most joyful museum for children, families and young people’.

French court upholds ruling ordering return of Pissarro painting to Jewish heirs | An appeals court in Paris has upheld a ruling ordering the American collectors Bruce and Robbi Toll to return the Pissarro painting La Cueillette des Pois (1887) to the descendants of its previous owner, the Jewish collector Simon Bauer. The painting is one of 90 confiscated by the Vichy regime in 1943 and was spotted by the Bauer family while on loan to an exhibition in Paris. The judge did not award compensation for the painting, which the Tolls bought at a Christie’s sale in 1995.

Shirin Aliabadi (1973–2018) | The Iranian artist Shirin Aliabadi died on Monday in Tehran, according to her Dubai gallery The Third Line. Aliabadi is best known for her photographs capturing the double lives of young women in Iran existing between traditional Islamic and Westernised cultures in her series Girls in Cars (2005) and Miss Hybrid (2008). 

Controversy over planned sale of Kerry James Marshall mural in Chicago | The proposed sale of a Kerry James Marshall mural at Chicago’s Legler Library has sparked a backlash from public art advocates. Painted in 1995. Knowledge and Wonder was initially commissioned for $10,000 but is predicted to sell for $10m to $15m at Christie’s in New York this November. Artnews reports that the artist commented on the plans at a gallery dinner in London last night, suggesting that ‘the City of Big Shoulders has wrung every bit of value they could from the fruits of my labour’. The money raised from the sale is intended to fund an upgrade of the library as well as Chicago’s public art programme. 

Artists demonstrate against police handling of activist death in Greece | The death of LGBTQ activist and drag performer Zak Kostopoulos, who was beaten by several men while attempting to leave a jewellery shop in Athens on 21 September, has spurred street protests from Greece’s artistic community. Dozens of individuals involved in last year’s edition of Documenta have also signed an open letter to Greek government officials, alleging that the ensuing police handling was ‘brutal and exclusively aimed at restraining Zak Kostopoulos, and not on capturing the perpetrators’. The letter was signed by Adam Szymczyk, artistic director of documenta 14, its former CEO Annette Kulenkampff and the artists Hiwa K and Hans Haacke, among others.

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