Britain Should Stop Building New Museums to Ensure Existing Ones Survive

In other news: the inaugural Lahore Biennial will go ahead and the controversially cancelled Max Stern exhibition is back on

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The V&A Dundee, designed by Kengo Kuma, scheduled to open Summer 2018. Courtesy: V&A Dundee

The V&A Dundee, designed by Kengo Kuma, scheduled to open Summer 2018. Courtesy: V&A Dundee

Britain should stop building new museums to ensure that existing ones survive, a UK Government commissioned review has concluded. Current budgets would be better spent digitizing existing collections and ensuring the upkeep of historic buildings. The review, the first of the sector in more than a decade, also recommends that the myriad of Government funding organizations – such as the Arts Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England – work more closely together and that museums focus on diversifying their audience including partnering with local schools and health bodies. ‘It is unlikely that there will be significant additional money available for the sector in the immediate future. The main thrust of our recommendations is, therefore, to ensure that we use existing funding in the best way possible,’ Neil Mendoza, the author of the review, noted. Though museums are now visited by more than half of the population at least once a year, and three in Britain – the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Tate Modern – are among the top ten most popular in the world, total Government funding for museums has remained largely flat for the last decade. A number of new museums will open across the UK this year including the Kengo Kuma-designed V&A Museum in Dundee, which is set to open its doors this summer following a Heritage Lottery Grant of £10million and a new Photography Centre at the V&A’s location in London, designed by David Kohn Architects, scheduled to open in the autumn.

The inaugural Lahore Biennial is due to go ahead in March 2018 following additions to the organizational team, the Art Newspaper reports. Karachi-born artist Iftikhar Dadi, associate professor in history of art at Cornell University, will head up the academic and discursive component of the biennale; novelist Mohsin Hamid and architect Raza Ali Dada join the advisory board, while artist Ayesha Jatoi is in charge of publications. In September 2017, the Pakistani artist Rashid Rana stepped down as artistic director of the inaugural event which was initially due to launch last November. ‘Given the limited representation of Pakistan in global media, and the relative scarcity of regional dialogues within South Asia, there is a real urgency to foster a deeper and multifaceted dialogue between Lahore, the region, and the rest of the world’, the biennial organizers wrote on their website.

The controversial decision to cancel an exhibition dedicated to Jewish dealer Max Stern has been reversed by the mayor of the city Thomas Geisel. According to the New York Times, Geisel will allow the institution to stage the exhibition, which was scheduled to open at Dusseldorf’s Stadtmuseum in February, in a ‘more complete and revised form.’ ‘It was never my intention to sweep the life and career of Max Stern under the carpet,’ Geisel said. Among the changes stipulated by the city are the involvement of an additional curator, who has yet to be appointed, and the establishment of a ‘scholarly advisory board,’ which will assist with research and recommend best practices for communicating about the works that are currently the subject of restitution claims. The show is now slated for October 2018.

The Cultural Development Fund of New York’s Department of Cultural Affairs has received USD$40.3 million in its largest-ever allocation of funding from the city. The grant money will be distributed to the city’s new CreateNYC cultural plan, spearheaded by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015, as well as to nearly 950 institutions. ‘As an epicenter of culture, New York City is naturally one of the largest funders of the arts in the country,’ de Blasio said in a statement. ‘Together with our partners in city council, we're taking steps to ensure New Yorkers in every corner of the city are able to participate in our unrivaled cultural life. CreateNYC gave New Yorkers the opportunity to speak up and be heard; and now we're building on our long history of supporting the arts while directing new funding to communities where it can do the most good.’

EU culture funding for UK arts organizations has been guaranteed until at least 2020 after the UK agreed to pay a proportion of outstanding European commitments up to and including 2020 during recent Brexit negotiations. Applications to the EU’s €1.46bn culture programme will be accepted until December 2020 from UK arts organizations. A spokesperson for Creative Europe UK confirmed the recent announcement means UK organizations can continue to take part in forthcoming Creative Europe funding callouts. A joint statement by EU and UK negotiators states the UK ‘may wish’ to participate in similar programmes post-2020 as a non-member state.

Artist Tim Rollins died on 26 December of natural causes, his galleries Lehmann Maupin in New York and Maureen Paley in London have confirmed. He was 62. For more than three decades, the artist created work with K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), a fluid group of young at-risk students from the South Bronx. Born in 1955 in Pittsfield, Maine, Rollins studied art at the University of Maine and earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 1979, he co-founded the activist art collective Group Material with Julie Ault and Mundy McLoughlin. In the early 1980s, while teaching art to special education students in the South Bronx, he launched an after-school programme ‘the Art and Knowledge Workshop’ for his most dedicated pupils, who would go on to become the founding members of K.O.S. ‘I couldn’t do what I do without the kids; they couldn’t do without me,’ Rollins told the New York Times in 1988. ‘It’s kind of like a baseball team. Without this, I’d be just another boring Conceptual artist.’ Rollins and K.O.S. participated in two Whitney Biennials (1985 and 1991), documenta (1987), the Venice Biennale (1988), and the Carnegie International (1988). Read our review of Tim Rollins and K.O.S's recent show at Maureen Paley, London here

Finally in gallery news: Roberts & Tilton is changing its name following the death of its longtime partner, Jack Tilton. The gallery will now be known as Roberts Projects.

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