Turner Prize Shortlist Announced, France-China Restitution Bungled, and More

Turner Prize Shortlist Announced, France-China Restitution Bungled, and More
"Yardhouse," an affordable workspace designed by the London-based group Assemble, who are on the Turner Prize Shortlist.
(Courtesy Assemble )

— Turner Prize Shortlist Announced: Four artists have been shortlisted for the 2015 Turner Prize: Bonnie CamplinJanice KerbelNicole Wermers, and collective Assemble. The judges seem to have an eye on art with social influence, rather than market value. The design and architecture group Assemble, formed by 18 “activist architects,” recently restored a shabby Liverpool housing estate. Meanwhile, artist Bonnie Camplin critiques hierarchies of power through multimedia work; Nicole Wermers fuses problems of design and consumerism in “Infrastruckur”; and Janice Kerbel has been recognized for her nine-song opera “DOUG.” [ArtforumGuardianTelegraph]

— France-China Restitution Bungled: Four two-pound gold bird heads donated in 1999 to France’s Musée Guimet by François Pinault are now the cause of a legal kerfuffle between France and China. In 2013, Guimet director Sophie Makariou looked into accusations, made by a satirical paper in 2006, that the works were obtained illegally — and found enough evidence to elicit an official recommendation that the works be returned to China. Though such a resolution would normally require a diplomatic vote, French officials, including Pinault, decided to use a loophole to conduct the restitution quickly and quietly. But Christian Deydier, the dealer who sold Pinault the pieces in the first place, has gone public with his displeasure over the whole ordeal — including arranging for a ceremony in which he will personally hand over the items in Beijing on May 15, thereby securing the spotlight for himself. [TAN]

— First Gurlitt Works Released: Speaking of restitution, one of the most high-profile cases — and the most drawn-out — has finally begun some kind of resolution with two works now officially on their way back to their rightful owners. Having been previously tagged as restitution-worthy, Henri Matisse’s “Woman Sitting in an Armchair” and Max Liebermann’s “Two Riders on the Beach” are the first of the 1,000-plus pieces to be approved and dispatched by the German court with consent from both of Gurlitt’s potential heirs. Due to data protection laws, however, the recipients’ identities and locations remain anonymous. [NYT]

— Sotheby’s First Quarter Success: Sotheby’s reports a $5.2 million profit for its first quarter, up from a $6.1 million loss reported last year in the same period. And coming up in June, the auction house will seek between $30 million and $45 million for a restituted painting by Kazimir Malevich, returned in 2008 by Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum after a 17-year legal case. [ARTnews,WSJ]

— Pierre Huyghe Tops the Met: The French artist Pierre Huyghe’s Met rooftop installation opens today — though apparently, it’s short a dead cat. [WSJ]

— Cleveland Museum Returns Cambodian Statue: The Cleveland Museum of Art has repatriated a 10th-century statue to Cambodia after realizing that it was likely looted during the Cambodian Civil War. The sculpture had been continuously on display since it came into the museum’s possession in 1982; museum officials concluded that it was a dirty acquisition after finding the sculpture’s base in a Cambodian temple. [WP]

— Beginning in January of 2016, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev will lead the combined Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and the GAM — what the Italian press is calling the “Superfondazione.” [Artnet]

— Financier Stephen A. Schwarzman has donated $150 million to Yale with hopes of turning one of its century-old buildings into a performing complex inspired by the Kennedy Center. [NYT]

— Kanye West received his honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago yesterday and, in a non sequitur during his speech, gave some unexpected love to the self-portraits of George W. Bush. [WP]


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