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Whitney lays off 76 staff members

Plus: UNESCO criticises building project near Lebanese archaeological site | Charity auction brings in €2.4m for French health professionals | £700,000 of emergency funding for vulnerable Scottish museums announced | and Hepworth Wakefield to receive gift of nearly 100 artworks

6 April 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

Whitney lays off 76 staff members | The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York has furloughed 76 members of staff, with director Adam Weinberg saying that he expects a revenue shortfall of around $7m this year. It is the latest of a string of similar announcements from US museums; most recently, the New Museum has also furloughed 41 staff members, or around a third of its workforce.

UNESCO criticises building project near Lebanese archaeological site | UNESCO has released an open letter denouncing the construction of the headquarters of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) party near the archaeological site of Nahr El-Kalb, to the north east of Beirut. The area, which dates back to the second century BC, has been considered for potential nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage site; in the letter, UNESCO director Mechtild Rössler said that the construction project could ‘jeopardise any future nomination for World Heritage inscription’.

Charity auction brings in €2.4m for French health professionals | An auction organised by the Parisian auction house PIASA has raised €2.4m for French medical workers. Proceeds from the online sale of 370 donated works will be paid to the #ProtegeTonSoignant (Protect Your Health) collective, established to provide support and supplies for frontline health workers across France.

£700,000 of emergency funding for vulnerable Scottish museums announced | Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has announced that £700,000 in funding from the Scottish Government will go towards the creation of an an Urgent Response Fund, to aid institutions that have been critically affected by Covid-19. The government is also providing £55,000 toward a Digital Resilience Fund, which enables museums to purchase any equipment required for staff to work remotely.

Hepworth Wakefield to receive gift of nearly 100 artworks | The collectors Terence Bacon and John Oldham have donated nearly 100 works to the Hepworth Wakefield museum. They include ceramics by John Ward and Lucie Rie, as well as paintings and works on paper by Cragie Aitchison, Rose Hilton, and Euan Uglow.

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