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Kerry James Marshall is Done With Public Art After Chicago Attempted to Sell His Mural

In further news: Italian government cracks down on art crime; and screening live arts performances fails to diversify audiences 

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Felix Clay, Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, 2018. Courtesy: © the artist and David Zwirner, London

Felix Clay, Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, 2018. Courtesy: © the artist and David Zwirner, London

Kerry James Marshall has said that he ‘would never do another public work’ after the city of Chicago attempted to sell a mural he made for the city’s Leger public library.‘It just seemed like a way of exploiting the work of artists in the city for short-term gain in a really short-sighted kind of way,’ he told the Chicago Tribune. After a backlash, the city of Chicago cancelled the sale of Knowledge and Wonder (1995), which portrays black children and adults looking up at monumentally-sized books and magazines. But Marshall – the highest placed artist in 2nd place on Art Review magazine’s annual Power 100 list published today – is adamant he won’t touch public commissions again. ‘There’s too many contingencies that go with public art, and there are more compromises than I think I’m going to be willing to make from here on out.’

Screened performances of live arts is not reaching new audiences, new findings suggest. As reported by ArtsProfessional, a study for the Arts Council England (ACE) by MTM consulting and a review of an 18-month project by digital distribution service Cinegi, has assessed the overall state of ‘live to digital’ arts across England and has found that such screenings attract similar audiences to those that attend similar events in person. While there is a desire for organizations to use technology to reach more people, there are still significant barriers affecting engagement such as lack of funds and staff time, with screenings mainly hosted by large arts institutions.

The Italian government is implementing new strict laws on art crime. The country’s populist government is introducing tough penalties for art and antiquities crime after a string of high-profile art and antiques were put up for sale in London and New York before being recovered. The government intends to ratify the Nicosia convention, an international agreement detailing the penalties for offences such as illegal excavation, importation and exportation and illegal acquisition and sale of cultural artefacts.  Speaking to The Telegraph, during a repatriation ceremony for ancient antiquities in Washington, DC, culture minister Alberto Bonisoli said: ‘We want to introduce laws on specific crimes so there are stiffer penalties applied to crimes against our cultural heritage, which is a fundamental part of our identity.’

Costs of Manchester’s arts hub The Factory have risen by GBP£20 million.The revised budget stands at GBP£130.6 million for the 145,000 square feet complex for art, theatre, dance and music events and the permanent home for the biennial Manchester International Festival. Manchester city council have contributed GBP£40.5 million in addition to GBP£20 million which will come from the sale of council-owned land. The increased budget is due to ‘construction inflation’ as well as improving acoustics which amounts to GBP£4.5 million. Construction for the building is due to be completed in 2020. ‘The Factory will bring a £1.1bn boost to the city's economy in its first decade alone," said Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council.’

Hong Kong art space Tai Kwun has cancelled two events with exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian.The director of the space Timothy Calnin has said in a statement that they did not want the venue to ‘promote the political interests of any individual’ after the author announced on Twitter that his two speaking events as part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival had been cancelled. The writer who now lives in London and whose books are banned in China writes dark contemporary satires about life in China. However, the author told The Guardian that he never intended to use the space as a platform to promote his politics. ‘When you write about China, it is impossible to separate politics from literature. Indeed, it is the duty of every writer to take a stand. But I am not trying to start a revolution,’ said Ma. Many, including literary group PEN Hong Kong, have accused the venue of self-censorship. 

Movements: following his abbreviated tenure as Director of the Volksbühne Theatre in Berlin, Chris Dercon takes the helm at Paris’ Grand Palais as president of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux; Glasgow School of Art chief Tom Inns has resigned, amid persisting questions over the college’s stewardship of the Mackintosh building; Winners of 2018 Hyundai Blue Prize have been announced: Wei Ying and Long Xingru have each been granted RMB¥600,000. 

In gallery news: Los Angeles’s Regen Projects now represents Kader Attia; PPOW now represents Sanam Khatibi; Berlin's Galerie Bastian will open a London space in 2019; Ropac now represents the Donald Judd Foundation in Europe; David Kordansky Gallery represents Huma Bhabha and Lauren Halsey

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