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Venice Biennale 2019, Titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, to Tackle the Age of Fake News

In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed artists’s housing wins approval 

IMAGE: Ralph Rugoff and Paolo Baratta. Courtesy: The Venice Biennale; photograph: Andrea Avezzu

Ralph Rugoff and Paolo Baratta. Courtesy: The Venice Biennale; photograph: Andrea Avezzu

Ralph Rugoff and Paolo Baratta. Courtesy: The Venice Biennale; photograph: Andrea Avezzu

The 58th Venice Biennale, which is set to run from 11 May to 24 November 2019, will be titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’. The international art exhibition takes its title from an ‘ancient Chinese curse’ referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil. In a statement, curator Ralph Rugoff explained: ‘At a moment when the digital dissemination of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ is corroding political discourse and the trust on which it depends, it is worth pausing whenever possible to reassess our terms of reference.’ Next year’s edition of the biennale will ‘not have a theme per se’, but Rugoff believes that the exhibition ‘will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking.’

A new culture pass has been launched by three New York libraries which will provide free access to more than 30 museums and cultural institutions across the city. The initiative launched by Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library and Queens Library will be available in all five New York boroughs and participating institutions include Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The culture pass will grant free day-passes for library card holders with a reserved portion of passes being donated to under-served neighbourhoods in order to reach new audiences. In a statement, Linda E Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library, said: ‘As the most democratic institution in our society, the library’s core mission is to provide resources for learning, culture, and creativity to people of all ages and backgrounds – in essence to provide access to the world’s collective knowledge.’

People who voted for Britain to leave the European Union are more likely to avoid the arts, new research finds. Those who live in 44 pro-Brexit areas including Sandwell, Boston and Blackburn were more likely to have voted Leave than engage with the arts, according to new analysis by Arts Professional. The data was compiled using the most recent Active Lives survey, which reports on whether a person has attended an arts event or activity, and compared it against the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum. The highest engagement with the arts was the City of London at 91.7%, with just 24.7% voting to leave the EU. However, Mark Taylor, a sociologist at the University of Sheffield found that there was a weaker correlation between people actually participating in the arts and voting Remain.

18 schools which are part of the Art Institute system in the US are no longer accepting new students and will close by the end of the year. Dream Center, the Art Institute system’s parent non-profit, cited declining enrolment as the reason for the closures, which include campuses in Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Detroit. A spokeswoman for Dream Center told Mercury News that the decision was also reflective of the shift in demand for online courses in higher education. Current students who choose to stay until the autumn will be offered a 50% tuition reduction for any remaining classes. They can also opt to transfer, although many students and teachers fear that their credits won’t be accepted by other colleges.

A new affordable housing scheme specifically intended for artists, and backed by Grayson Perry, has been approved by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. 12 affordable flats leased at 65% of the local market rent, as well as a community arts centre and studio spaces will be a part of the GBP£3.5 billion housing scheme. Dubbed ‘A House For Artists’, the project is being driven by art agency Create London, of which Perry is an associate. The Turner Prize-winning artist will help to select the resident artists through an open call, with the move-in date scheduled for November 2019.  Perry told the Architects’ Journal: ‘This is a golden opportunity for artists who want to work with the public. With the right artists working in a real place with real people, who knows where it will go? It’s a new artistic model.’

London’s V&A is to lend out its treasures in a bid to inspire children in the UK, as museum director Tristram Hunt fears careers in art and design risk becoming ‘posh professions’. The former shadow education secretary revealed his plans to loan out dozens of treasures, telling The Times, ‘Creativity is being stripped out of state schools at an alarming rate’. Items that will be a part of the project will include a Grayson Perry ceramic tile and a ‘jewel tree’ silk scarf by fashion designer Mary Katrantzou.

In appointments news: documenta has appointed an eight-member search committee who will announce the director of the 2022 edition early next year – members of the committee include Berlin Biennale curator Gabi Ngcobo and Tate Modern director Frances Morris; the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, has appointed Robert Wiesenberger, who currently works as a critic at the Yale School of Art, in the newly created Associate Curator of Contemporary Projects role; Sharna Jackson is the new artistic director of Site Gallery in Sheffield – she will work alongside executive director, Judith Harry, ahead of the gallery’s reopening in September after a GBP£1.7m redevelopment; and Eric Shiner will join White Cube’s New York office as artistic director this autumn – he is currently senior vice president at Sotheby’s and was previously director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Finally, in gallery news: Jacolby Satterwhite is now represented by New York gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash – he will have his first exhibition with the gallery in the autumn of 2019. Don't miss our review of his show earlier this year at Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York here.

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