World news digest: May 2008

Compiled by Magnus von Wistinghausen, Issue 108/5, p9, May 2008

Businessman and collector John Kaldor has donated 260 works of contemporary art, worth an estimated £16m, to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. It is the single largest gift of artworks ever made to an Australian institution. A £12m government grant will fund the construction of an off-site storage facility.


People over the age of 60 have been granted free entry to government-funded art museums. The initiative is a step towards trialling free admission to museums. The government has pledged to compensate museums for lost income.


The Centre Pompidou in Paris has cancelled a Calder exhibition, as well as several building renovation works, following a 6 per cent cut in its annual government subsidy. The cut affects all national museums and is part of a pledge by the Sarkozy administration to modernise France by reducing public spending.


A collection of 500 works of modern art is being broken up, having been displayed for four decades as a permanent loan at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld. It is being sold by the wife and heirs of the collector. Sotheby's has been selected to sell 34 of the most iconic works at an auction in New York this month.

Hong Kong

A collection of Chinese contemporary art shown to the public at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is to be sold at auction. The collection of 200 works, formed between 2004 and 2007, belongs to a firm of New York art dealers.


The sub-prime mortgage crisis has hit major cultural institutions that had issued auction rate bonds to cash flow construction projects and acquisitions. With interest rates fixed weekly, costs soared from three to four per cent last year, to up to 10 per cent this year. Five major institutions in the Los Angeles area reported combined losses of $3m in the first two months of the year.


An 82-year-old retired post clerk and his wife, a former librarian, will split their collection of 2,500 works of minimalist, conceptual and post-1960s art equally between 50 institutions around the country. For more information visit


The Whitney Museum has secured a $131m donation towards its endowment from chairman Leonard Lauder. The gift is attached to the condition not to sell the museum's Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue for an extended - although unspecified - period. Plans to establish a venue in New York's Meatpacking District had led to speculation that the museum might not be able to afford to operate from two locations.


The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas will close its doors to the public on 11 May after nearly seven years on The Strip. The space presented 10 exhibitions drawn from the two museums' collections over that period. The Guggenheim closed its larger space in Las Vegas 15 months after it opened.

Compiled by Magnus von Wistinghausen

Seen in, the Art Newspaper and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung