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‘Engagement With Arts Helps Prevent Ill Health’, Agree Doctors in New Survey

In further news: Directors of UK Festivals write open letter over visa procedures; US dealers protest Trump’s 25% Chinese art tariff

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Damien Hirst, Pharmaceuticals (detail), 2005, colour inkjet print. Courtesy: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Pharmaceuticals (detail), 2005, colour inkjet print. Courtesy: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Two thirds of GPs believe that arts engagement helps prevent ill health, a new survey has revealed. As reported by ArtsProfessionalof 1,000 doctors surveyed by arts and health charity Aesop, 66% agreed that ‘public engagement with the arts can make a significant contribution to the prevention agenda (i.e. preventing ill health among the public).’ Currently, 27 healthcare providers across the North West are committed to developing cultural prescription plans and last month Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced £4.5m in funding to develop social prescription across the UK. 

Directors of international festivals in the UK have written an open letter to the Home Office regarding visa application procedures. The letter, published by The Guardian, expresses concern in the rise of refusals of artist visas. It also says that current visa application processes for artists are lengthy, costly and overly complex and that steps should be taken to alleviate the situation including a reduction in costs, clarification of appeal procedures and online updates on the process of visa applications. Signatories of the letter include Director of Bradford Literature festival, Syima Aslam, Deputy Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest, Melanie Iredale, and Director of music festival Field Day, Tom Baker. Read Chris Sharratt on why the art world needs to stand up to the UK’s ‘humiliating’ immigration demands.

American art dealers are protesting Trump’s proposed 25% Chinese art tariff. The tax would affect US$200 billion worth of Chinse goods, including paintings, sculptures and antiques and will be the first time the US has imposed penalties on art buying since the McCarthy era. It is believed that the proposed tariff would greatly affect museums and art dealers around the world and would mark a change in the US’s policy of importing art duty-free. The tariff was originally set at 10% but has since been inflated to reflect the US administration’s frustrations with trade practices in China. According to US Census data, US$107.2 million in century-old antiques and US$66.6 million in paintings and drawings were imported to the US from China last year.

The Creative Industries Federation has advised creative organizations and business to prepare for a ‘catastrophic’ no-deal Brexit, which could lead to loss of employees and higher costs in trading good and services. CIF has begun distributing a guide to its members which discusses the effects that a no-deal Brexit could have on the creative sector. The guide recommends that organizations carry out an audit of their dependency on the EU which includes how many employees are EU citizens and whether they regularly use services and products from EU countries. The guide also warns that freedom of movement will be greatly affected and although an agreement has been reached regarding funding to the UK until 2020, there is a potential risk to projects running beyond March 2019. 

Jeremy Deller is making a permanent memorial commemorating victims of the Peterloo Massacre. The Turner prize winner’s designs and proposed location of the work which marks the massacre bicentenary, will be unveiled at an exhibition at Manchester Central Library on 31 October. Members of the public are free to attend and comment on the plans. The news, which was announced to large crowds during a ceremony at the Manchester Central convention centre, comes after a 10-year campaign for a permanent tribute in the city centre. It is estimated that 18 people were killed and 700 seriously injured on 16 August 1819 in St Peter’s Fields when armed cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd who had gathered to listen to anti-poverty and pro-democracy speakers. 

A replica Berlin Wall may be resurrected in the German capital to mark the anniversary of reunification. Organizers of the culture festival Berliner Festspiele are in discussions with city authorities about erecting a replica of the concrete barrier, which would stand on the Unter den Linden boulevard from 3 October to 9 November and be destroyed once the event has ended. It is to form a part of the controversial ongoing film and performance project by Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky. Monica Grutters, German minister of culture, said in German B.Z newspaper that she is convinced this will be ‘a world event’. A spokeswoman for Berliner Festspiele told The Art Newspaper ‘We cannot confirm the project. A press conference announcing more details will be held shortly.’

In appointments: Chase F. Robinson has been named director of Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; Noelle Kadar has been appointed director of the Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace in Jaipur; Mackenzie Art Gallery has appointed artist and educator John G. Hampton as its first director of programmes; The Minneapolis Institute of Art names Casey Riley as curator and head of its department of photography and new media; Hallie Ringle is Birmingham Museum of Art’s new curator; Yasuaki Ishizaka has been appointed Sotheby’s Japan Chairman & Managing Director. 

In gallery news: New York Latino cultural institution El Museo del Barrio is due to reopen 13 September after a year-long refurbishment; ICA Philadelphia receives USD$1 million endowment from private-equity investor Marc J. Leder; German collectors have donated 150 works by Joseph Beuys to Münster Museum; Hong Kong’s M+ Museum has acquired the complete body of work of Seoul-based digital artist duo Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries; and former co-owner of Hotel gallery (2003–13) and cofounder the New York and Brussels–based art fair Independent, Darren Flook, is to open a new gallery in Bethnal Green in east London. The project space will be called Freehouse and will host exhibitions, talks, screenings, performances, and other programming and opens with a show by Berlin and Zurich–based artist Tobias Spichtig in September.

And finally ... A couple wearing ‘Abolish ICE’ shirts were denied entry to the Statue of Liberty at a security checkpoint. Tiffany Huang and Sam Lewin arrived at the New York national monument wearing the pro-immigrantion T-shirts but federal employees ordered them to change their shirts or leave. The pair contacted New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union who got in touch with the National Park Service who agreed that the couples refused entry was illegal and a violation of their freedom of speech.  

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