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Briefing

London’s fourth plinth artists announced; a new fund to protect cultural heritage in war-torn areas

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Heather Phillipson with a model of her fourth plinth sculpture, scheduled for 2020

Heather Phillipson with a model of her fourth plinth sculpture, scheduled for 2020

The next two occupants of Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth in London will be sculptures by Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz and British artist Heather Phillipson. Rakowitz’s re-creation of the Lamassu, a winged bull at the entrance to the Nergal Gate of Nineveh from 700 BC – which was destroyed by ISIS – will occupy the plinth in 2018. In 2020 the plinth will host Phillipson’s giant swirl of whipped cream, adorned with a red cherry, a fly and a drone, which will surveil Trafalgar Square 24 hours a day.

A new fund has been launched to protect cultural heritage in war-torn areas. Initiated by France and the UAE and called the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas, or ALIPH – after the first letter in the Arabic alphabet – it has raised USD$75 million of its $100 million target. The fund will run alongside similar programmes already created by UNESCO.

Documenta’s new CEO and managing director, Annette Kulenkampff, says it needs more government funding (German). This year’s Documenta 14, taking place in Athens (8 April – 16 July) and Kassel (10 June – 17 Sept), has a budget of around €34 million, half of which is publicly subsidized. Kulenkampff argues that having to fundraise the remainder for the quinquennial exhibition is ‘not sustainable in the long run.’ A large portion of Documenta’s finances is used to support the production of new artworks, which remain the property of the artist once the show ends.

A gender gap study has found that while there has been a five percent increase in female directorships since 2013, women hold fewer than 50 percent of directorships in US art institutions. The study, undertaken by the Association of Art Museum Directors and Dallas’s National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University, uses 2016 data collected from AAMD member institutions. Research shows that the majority of museums with budgets of more than $15 million are led by men.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has called off its upcoming UBS MAP exhibition scheduled to open at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai on 15 April. A statement from the Guggenheim and the museum said it ‘mutually agreed’ on cancelling ‘But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa in Shanghai,’ due to ‘unforeseen circumstances.’ An earlier iteration of the show was hosted by the Guggenheim in New York in April 2016. Ten of the 17 artists involved in that exhibition released a statement criticizing the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for breaking off talks with Gulf Labor over workers’ conditions at the Guggenheim’s planned outpost in Abu Dhabi.

The J. Paul Getty Trust will award J. Paul Getty Medals to German artist Anselm Kiefer and Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa this November. ‘Anselm Kiefer and Mario Vargas Llosa are both engaged in big ideas and historic moments, and they share with the Getty a passionate commitment to global culture,’ said Maria Hummer-Tuttle, chair of the board of trustees. Past recipients of the award, established in 2013, include Harold Williams, Nancy Englander, Jacob Rothschild, Frank Gehry, Yo-Yo Ma, and Ellsworth Kelly.

In other LA news, the Mike Kelley Foundation has awarded USD$319,000 in 2017 Artist Project Grants to eight Los Angeles-based nonprofits. Recipients include Human Resources, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes and REDCAT. The money will go towards planned shows later this year.

Pace Gallery has announced plans to open a space in the H Queen’s building in Hong Kong following its recently-opened space in Seoul. ‘Since 2008, when we opened Pace Beijing, it has become clear that we needed a space in Hong Kong, which has undoubtedly become a key centre in the global art world,’ said Marc Glimcher, president of Pace Worldwide. Exhibitions by Julian Schnabel, Chuck Close, Alexander Calder, and Lee Ufan are planned.

Postmasters will open a gallery in Rome, ran by its co-director Paulina Bebecka. The 32-year-old gallery has appointed Kerry Doran, director of New York’s Bitforms gallery, as head of its 4,500-square-foot (420 m2) flagship space in Tribeca. Doran starts in her new position 11 April.

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