Tate Acquires Yinka Shonibare Library Celebrating Diversity of British Population

In further news: galleries resume contact with #MeToo accused Anthony d’Offay; air-con system caused Brazil museum fire

Yinka Shonibare in his installation The British Library, Tate Modern, 2019. Courtesy and photograph: Tabatha Fireman and Getty Images

Yinka Shonibare in his installation The British Library, Tate Modern, 2019. Courtesy and photograph: Tabatha Fireman and Getty Images

The Tate has acquired an artwork by Yinka Shonibare comprised of a library of thousands of books bound in batik fabric and honouring the diversity of the British population. The artwork, The British Library (2014), is now on display at Tate Modern, London after it was bought for the museum’s permanent collection. The artwork takes up three walls of an exhibition room and includes 6,328 books, some of which are printed with names of first- and second-generation immigrants to Britain who made significant contributions to the UK’s history and culture. Some books have been left blank, suggesting that the narrative of British immigrant history is yet to be written.

UK galleries including Tate and National Galleries of Scotland have renewed contact with British art dealer and donor Anthony d’Offay, over a year after he was accused by several women of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. The Metropolitan Police were also investigating a complaint made by an anonymous woman who claimed she had received ‘malicious communications’ from d’Offay. However, an investigation found ‘no firm evidence’, prompting institutions to resume contact with the patron and dealer.

An air conditioning system has been cited as the cause of the devastating fire at Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro in September 2018. At a news conference, chief of federal police Ricardo Saadi ruled out arson and said: ‘The fire broke out in the auditorium and [the] main cause was the installation of [the] air conditioning.’ The investigation also revealed that the museum had only installed fire extinguishers and lacked the correct safety equipment to contain the blaze.

In galleries, awards and appointment news: Hauser & Wirth has added Glenn Ligon to their artist roster; Lee Bul has been named as this year’s laureate for the prestigious Ho-Am Prize for the Arts; the Brooklyn Museum is launching a USD$25,000 prize for emerging artists who live or work in Brooklyn; Maurin Dietrich has been appointed director of Kunstverein München and will begin in the role in July; and the list of participating artists for the 2020 Biennale of Sydney has been announced and includes Arthur Jafa, Lisa Reihana, Lhola Amira and Gina Athena Ulysse.

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