Adjaye-designed Museum In Doubt After Backer Accused of Money Laundering

Southbank Centre pulls advertising from Daily Mail; LA's Getty Museum teams up with Greek government to protect art from earthquakes

Digital rendering of aerial view of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art. Courtesy: Adjaye Associates

Digital rendering of aerial view of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, Riga. Courtesy: Adjaye Associates

Digital rendering of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, Riga. Courtesy: Adjaye Associates

Plans for Latvia’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Riga – designed by Sir David Adjaye’s firm – have been thrown into doubt after the US government accused Latvian bank ABLV, a major backer of the museum, of money laundering and breaking sanctions against North Korea. The US Treasury has since taken steps to block the bank from trading in dollars. The arts institution was scheduled to launch in 2021 and Elīna Vikmane, head of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation, told Latvian Radio it was ‘too early to make any conclusions now, and the development of the museum is going according to plan.’ Adjaye Associates’s design for the museum, incorporating angled roofing, is influenced by traditional domestic wooden architecture from the Baltic region.

Following the publication of a Daily Mail column by Richard Littlejohn in which the writer claimed that having two fathers was ‘not normal’, the UK’s Southbank Centre has joined other institutions in promising to no longer advertise in the UK newspaper. According to The Stage, the London arts centre did not confirm whether its decision was directly linked to the offending column – a spokesperson commented: ‘We monitor the environment in which our advertising appears, to ensure the values of a publication are compatible with our own. We have no future plans to advertise within the Daily Mail.’

Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum, the Greek government and the National Technical University of Athens have signed up to a project researching how museums can best protect work from earthquakes. While the LA museum and Greek government have collaborated before, since signing a cooperation deal in 2011, this marks the first time that both have united on a formal collaborative project, Artnet reports. The research project will focus on the museum’s isolator mounts and seismic mitigation bases, with the aim to conclude with a new prototype to protect art collections in the event of an earthquake.

Jonathan Watkins, currently director of the UK’s Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, has been named curator of Québec City’s Manif d’art biennial. The exhibition, which will run from 14 February to 21 April 2019, produced in collaboration with Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, is now in its ninth edition. Under the title ‘Small Between the Stars, Large Against the Sky’, Watkins said he intended ‘to make a very international biennial whilst being mindful of where we are, to present an abundance of contemporary art that is at once stimulating, of the highest quality and relevant.’

In prizes and awards news: the Marcel Duchamp Prize has named the nominees for its 2018 edition: Mohamed Bourouissa, Clément Cogitore, Thu Van Tran and Marie Voignier. Launched by the Association for the International Diffusion of French Art in 2000 to celebrate artists with a connection to France, the prize is organized with the Centre Pompidou and comes with a cash prize of EUR€35,000. Art Jameel has named Kuwaiti artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYacoub for is inaugural artist commission – their proposal Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees will be shown at the launch of Dubai’s Jameel Arts Centre later in the year.

In gallery news: London’s Arcadia Missa is moving from Peckham to Soho, citing worries over gentrification in the neighbourhood which it has occupied since launching in 2011 – founding director Rósza Farkas commented: ‘Although it’s sentimental to be spending less time in the area, for reasons beyond how much more accessible central London is for many visitors, it is time to go. I am against gentrification, and this has left me constantly conflicted in my position as a gallery owner’; meanwhile, Los Angeles’s Marc Foxx Gallery has closed after 23 years in operation, with a statement on their website from founder Marc Foxx and partner Rodney Nonaka-Hill expressing ‘deep gratitude to all the artists, institutions, curators, writers, publications, colleagues and collectors who have supported the gallery over the years’; and New York’s James Cohan Gallery now represents the sculptor Josiah McElheny, whose installation Island Universe, inspired by Lobmeyr chandeliers, is currently on view at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, Houston.

And finally, Hong Kong has launched its Harbour Arts Sculpture Park, running along the city’s Victoria Harbour. The inaugural exhibition includes work by Rasheed Araeen, Yayoi Kusama, Michael Craig-Martin, Tracy Emin and Morgan Wong.

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