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Winning designs announced for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth

Plus: Global fund to protect cultural heritage launched | Artists and critics demand removal of painting from Whitney Biennial | Katharine Stout named deputy director at ICA | Trisha Brown (1936–2017) | David Rockefeller (1915–2017)

21 March 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Fourth Plinth commissions for 2018 and 2020 announced | Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson have been commissioned to create sculptures for Trafalgar Square’s vacant Fourth Plinth, it was announced today. The winning designs are Rakowitz’s The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, which recreates an ancient statue from Nineveh that was destroyed by ISIS in 2015 out of Iraqi date syrup cans; and Phillipson’s THE END, a sculpture of a dessert surveilled by a drone. Ekow Eshun, chair of the Fourth Plinth commissioning group, said: ‘The new commissions will proudly continue the legacy of the Fourth Plinth in putting world-class contemporary sculpture at the heart of London’. The designs will be unveiled in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

Global fund to protect cultural heritage launched | A new global fund to protect cultural heritage in conflict zones was officially launched by François Hollande and UAE vice prime minister Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Paris yesterday. According to the Art Newspaper, the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (Aliph) has so far raised $75m of a planned $100m, most of which has come from France, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. ‘After all the speeches delivered against such barbarian acts, we have to move,’ said a spokesperson for the French government. ‘When we see […] the gravity of the damage in places like Mosul, we understand that we have to act on this, and act fast.’

Artists and critics demand removal of painting from Whitney Biennial | Some two dozen artists and writers have signed an open letter demanding that a painting by Dana Schutz be removed from the Whitney Biennial, reports Artforum. The painting is based on a photograph of the open casket of murdered African American teenager Emmett Till, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being falsely accused of making advances on a white woman. In appropriating the image, the letter argues, Schutz has caused ‘unnecessary hurt’ to the black community. ‘Till was made available to Black people as an inspiration and warning’, it reads. ‘Non-Black people must accept that they will never embody and cannot understand this gesture’.

Katharine Stout named deputy director at ICA | London’s ICA has appointed curator Katharine Stout as its next deputy director. Stout, who co-founded the London non-profit the Drawing Room, has already served as head of programming at the Institute for several years, having moved from Tate Britain in 2013. Additionally, Richard Birkett will join the ICA from Portland’s Yale Union as chief curator. He is also a former employee of the Institute, where he worked between 2007 and 2010.

Trisha Brown (1936–2017) | Dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown has died aged 80. After moving to New York in 1961, Brown became a founding member of the pioneering Judson Dance Theatre. In 1970 she co-founded the avant-garde group Grand Union and set up her own dance troupe, the Trisha Brown Dance Collective. A leading figure in postmodern dance, Brown is well known for experimental works such as Walking on the Wall and Roof Piece, as well as her collaborations with Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Donald Judd.

David Rockefeller (1915–2017) | Philanthropist David Rockefeller has died at home in New York State at the age of 101. Rockefeller studied at Harvard and at the University of Chicago, before serving in the army during the Second World War and then pursuing a career in finance. As the Guardian writes, he embraced an ‘enlightened capitalism’, castigating tax avoidance and devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to the arts. Rockefeller was particularly instrumental in the growth of MoMA, securing significant bequests and loaning many paintings from his own collection, which was once valued at $500m. ‘David Rockefeller was an extraordinary man whose legacy lies not only in his many benefactions, but in his thoughtful leadership of our institution and many others’, said MoMA director Glen Lowry in a statement.

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