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LOOTED GOLD ON LOAN. The British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) have agreed to a three-year loan of over 30 gold and silver looted artifacts to Ghana. The items, including crown jewels, belonged to the Asante people of West Africa, who are largely citizens of Ghana. The pieces were among pillaged treasure from the Asante royal palace during 19th-century Anglo-Asante wars, when British forces also burnt the Kumasi capital. “It doesn’t seem to me that all of our museums will fall down if we build up these kinds of partnerships and exchanges,” V&A director Tristram Hunt told the BBC, adding the agreement is nevertheless, “not restitution by the back door,” or a permanent return. The loan can be extended another three years. A senior British Museum source also told The Telegraph he hoped the deal leads towards some kind of agreement with Greece over the Parthenon Marbles, which the latter claims is their rightful property.
IN MEMORIAM. Carle Andre, a sculptor and poet who pioneered the Minimalist art movement of the 1960s, died on January 24, at 88. “Carl Andre redefined the parameters of sculpture and poetry through his use of unaltered industrial materials and innovative approach to language,” said his New York dealer, Paula Cooper Gallery, in a statement announcing the death. In 1988 Andre was tried and acquitted for the murder of his partner, the artist Ana Mendieta, yet many have continued to put forward theories about Mendieta’s death, which implicate Andre, writes ARTnews Senior Editor Alex Greenberger
A Japanese man was sentenced to death for an arson attack against a Kyoto studio in 2019, which killed 36 animation artists. Shinji Aoba, 45, pleaded guilty to dousing Kyoto Animation, known as KyoAni, with petrol and lighting it on fire, because he believed the studio plagiarized a novel he entered into its contest. He later expressed remorse. [The Guardian]
The estate of Austrian collector Heidi Horten, linked to enrichment from Nazi looting, is being auctioned in a clearance sale, with prices starting at €1. Christie’s cancelled a second auction of Horten’s jewelry in 2023, following an outcry over a first sale of jewelry from the estate in May, which brought in $202 million. [Der Standard and Artnet News]
“The Hobby Cave,” a new UK exhibition project, is appealing to the public to help create the “largest ever,” multi-venue show dedicated to the country’s hobbies, curated by the arts organization Artangel with artist Hetain Patel, and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. From obsessively making miniatures, to crocheting toys, all submissions are welcome. [BBC]
The graphic novelist Posy Simmonds has become one of a few women and the first British artist to win the prestigious Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. She is the fifth woman to be awarded the prize in 51 years of its existence. [Le Temps and The Guardian]
Seven recent MFA graduates at the California Institute of Arts have dropped out of an exhibition at Los Angeles’s UTA Artist Space, because they were allegedly forbidden to address Gaza and Palestine in their artist statements. [ARTnews]
ARTSY OSCAR FAVORITE. Artist Tacita Dean hopes Oppenheimer film director Christopher Nolan wins at the Oscars, “because he is the advocate for photochemical film in Hollywood. Oppenheimer is entirely shot on photochemical film; he shoots real effects and that is why they’re more embedded in the film. He did the atomic explosions photochemically; he did it with frame rate and in miniature. He’s very technical,” Dean told The Art Newspaper. Dean’s 16mm and 35mm films, drawings, collages, photogravures and other works celebrate analog film-making techniques. “I put a lot of my energy into saving photochemical things and trying to preserve technical knowledge inside the photochemical industry,” she said.