Prix Net Art Award winners announced; the Art Fund calls for reform of the UK export system

Eva and Franco Mattes, Project for the fake Nike Monument in Karlsplatz, 2003, print on canvas, 97 x 133 cm. Courtesy: Postmasters Gallery, New York

Eva and Franco Mattes, Project for the fake Nike Monument in Karlsplatz, 2003, print on canvas, 97 x 133 cm. Courtesy: Postmasters Gallery, New York

Eva and Franco Mattes, Project for the fake Nike Monument in Karlsplatz, 2003, print on canvas, 97 x 133 cm. Courtesy: Postmasters Gallery, New York

  • Rhizome and Chronus Art Center, two non-profit organizations operating out of New York and Shanghai respectively, have announced the recipients of the third annual Prix Net Art Award, which was established to recognize those working with art and the internet. This years awards, each of which amounts to USD$5,000, have been presented to Eva and Franco Mattes, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, and the Johannesburg-born artist Bogosi Sekhukhuni.
  • The Art Fund has called for the UK export system to be reformed, after the National Gallery’s GBP£30m bid to buy Jacopo Pontormo’s Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (c.1529) was rejected because of the post-Brexit exchange rate. As Mark Brown reports for the Guardian, the work was sold despite an agreement between the owner of the painting and the institution, where the work was on temporary display, that there would be a three-month warning if there were any intention to sell. Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, who donated GBP£750,000 to the campaign to purchase the work, said: ‘We believe the UK’s art export control system should serve our public collections more effectively than at present […] Licence applicants should be required to give a clear and legally binding commitment to abide by the rules – which they are not at present – and we have recommended a number of other specific improvements in addition.’
  • The Jerusalem-based non-profit Barbur Gallery has posted a statement on its website refuting claims that the municipality has forced it to close following an anti-occupation event titled ‘Break the Silence’, which was held last week. The gallery paid tribute to the fact that the event went ahead as planned, claiming it to be a ‘victory for the spirit of freedom and proof that you can and should stand up to the threats and attempts of intimidation and incitement’. Barbur Gallery added: ‘According to all the legal opinions we received, the municipality’s claims are baseless factually and legally […] Theirs is a political statement designed for promotional purposes and a flattery to the extreme right in the city, and not a move that has any real substance’.
  • The Royal Academy of Arts in London has entered into a partnership with more than 60 galleries and auction houses across the west of the city as part of the rebranded Mayfair Art Weekend. Formerly Brown’s London Art Weekend, the new event will run from 30 June - 2 July, and will see a number of major galleries including David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, Victoria Miro and Sadie Coles collaborate on three days of events. Speaking to Anny Shaw at The Art Newspaper, Kate Goodwin, curator of architecture at the RA and Mayfair Art Weekend board member, said: ‘Our aim is to open up our schools, the collection and our buildings and make them all more accessible to the public […] We want to break down some of the perceived barriers around the art world in Mayfair.’
  • Vjeran Tomic, an art thief nicknamed ‘Spiderman’, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after stealing GBP£86m worth of paintings by Braque, Leger, Matisse, Modigliani, and Picasso from Paris’s Musée d'Art Moderne in 2010. The Paris court also handed a seven-year sentence to Jean-Michel Corvez, the antiques dealer who orchestrated the theft. Peimane Ghalez-Marzban, the judge presiding over the case, criticized the museum’s defective security, noting the ‘disconcerting ease’ with which Tomic was able to gain entry.  

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