World news digest

Australia: The influential Sydney-born art critic Robert Hughes, who reached a mass audience in 1989 with his book and TV …
Compiled by Gareth Harris
Australia: The influential Sydney-born art critic Robert Hughes, who reached a mass audience in 1989 with his book and TV series The Shock of the New, died last month. In 2008, Hughes said about Damien Hirst’s shark suspended in formaldehyde: “One might as well get excited about seeing a dead halibut on a slab in Harrods food hall.”

France: Islamic art galleries opening this month at the Louvre will house more than 2,500 objects dating from the seventh to 19th centuries. The 3,000 sq m venue consists of a two-storey glass pavilion and an iridescent steel roof. 

Iran: A show by German artist Günther Uecker, which opens at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art this month, will present works based on the Christian iconography of the Stations of the Cross. The use of violence against foreigners based in Germany prompted Uecker to create The Human Abused: 14 Pacified Implements series.

Nigeria: The government organisation that oversees museums is demanding the return of 32 artefacts recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Yusuf Abdallah, director general of the National Commission for Museum and Monuments, said the pieces were looted by British soldiers in the 1890s. The US museum said it had not received a formal request from the Nigerian government.

Syria: Cultural commentators have raised concerns about the war-torn country’s museums. Joanne Farchakh-Bajjaly, a Lebanese archaeologist, said that 10 years before the current conflict, the Syrian government established 25 museums countrywide to safeguard antiquities. But the museum in Homs has been looted, she added, with Syrian artefacts available on the art market in Jordan and Turkey.

US: Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art has suffered a spate of high-profile resignations over the past couple of months. The chief curator of the museum, Paul Schimmel, departed after 22 years with the institution, followed by four artist-trustees including Catherine Opie and Barbara Kruger.

Opie said that the curatorial direction of the museum under its director Jeffrey Deitch had persuaded her that it was time to leave. Deitch defended the “serious level” of his exhibition programme.

Seen in the Independent, Los Angeles Times, Guardian, Huffington Post and the Art Newspaper

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