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Zimbabwe biennial postponed due to political turmoil

Plus: American Alliance of Museums announces new museum leadership diversity initiative | UK government pledges £20m culture fund for five English regions | Haifa removes McJesus sculpture after continuing protests | and recommended reading

18 January 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Zimbabwe biennial postponed due to political turmoil | The biennial in Bulawayo has been postponed from October 2019 to October 2020, after nationwide protests prompted by a rise in petrol prices this month. The delay was confirmed by the event’s founder Sithabile Mlotshwa, who spoke to The Art Newspaper. The inaugural biennial was held last year, having been organised after the fall of former president Robert Mugabe in 2017.

American Alliance of Museums announces museum leadership diversity initiative | The American Alliance of Museums has announced ‘Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion’, an initiative to improve the diversity of US museum leaders. Grants worth a total of $4m will go towards training and resources over the next three years. They come in the wake of the alliance’s recent survey, which suggested almost half of US museum boards are all white. The grant donors are Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alice L. Walton Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

UK government pledges £20m culture fund for five English regions | The UK government has pledged a $20m culture fund, of which the first five beneficiaries are Grimsby, Wakefield, Plymouth, Worcester, and the Thames Estuary area of Kent. Culture secretary Jeremy Wright confirmed the beneficiaries today during a speech in Coventry, stating that the fund would ‘diversify the creative economy’.

Haifa removes McJesus sculpture after continuing protests | Protests by Christians over the McJesus sculpture currently on display at Israel’s Haifa Museum of Art have led the museum to take down the work. Earlier this week they had originally defended their decision to display the work, against the artist Jani Leinonen’s wishes.

Recommended reading | Tracey Emin speaks to Griselda Murray Brown about art as a cathartic act and her upcoming exhibition of female nudes at the White Cube in the Financial Times. In The New York Times, Dionne Searcey and Farah Nayeri report on the opening of Senegal’s new Museum of Black Civilizations amid renewed debate over the restitution of objects taken during the colonial era. In the Guardian, Steve Dow speaks to Phuong Ngo about his ongoing performance art at Sydney’s MCA, which uses paper boats to honour the 500,000 Vietnamese refugees who died trying to reach Australia after the Vietnam War.

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