BY Frieze News Desk in News | 21 JUN 19

‘Art Museums Should Pay Interns’ – Association of Art Museum Directors Demands Action

In further news: British Library shares conservation expertise with Palestinian Museum; Talmud scholars defend resigned director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 21 JUN 19

A Tate employee poses in front of William Turner’s Caligula’s Palace and Bridge (1831), during a photo call at Tate Britain, 2018. Courtesy and photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) has passed a resolution which will encourage museums to put an end to unpaid internships. ‘Internships provide critical opportunities for students considering careers in art museums, as well as experience necessary for entering the workforce,’ the resolution states. However, except for in ‘special circumstances’ – which include interns gaining university credit for their work ­– ‘art museums should pay interns.’ The Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Jill Medvedow also highlighted the inequality of unpaid internships in a statement to ARTnews: ‘It is obvious that unpaid internships are only available to those who have the means to work without pay.’ Medvedow also expressed her hope that the resolution would be beneficial for workers in the museum sector in the early stages of their careers. ‘In this difficult world that is so defined by racism and other ways of exclusion,’ she said, ‘this is one concrete step forward.’

50 Talmud scholars have signed a letter in defence of Peter Schäfer, who resigned from his position as director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum over a controversial tweet. The tweet, sent from the museum’s official account on 6 June 2019, links to an article arguing that the German parliament should not pass a resolution against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is a Palestine-led campaign which calls for a boycott of Israel. The letter, co-authored by professor Ishay Rosen Zvi and Moulie Vidas, reads: ‘We are scholars of the Talmud and Ancient Judaism who hold diverse and even opposing opinions regarding the BDS movement, but we are united in our profound admiration for Prof. Schäfer as a scholar, academic leader, and public intellectual […] For those of us who know Prof. Schäfer and his work, it is shocking to hear the claim that he is not committed to Jewish causes and the fight against antisemitism.’ Meanwhile another letter signed by more than 300 Jewish studies scholars has also been circulated in support of Schäfer, protesting ‘that the reputation of a scholar devoted to Judaism would be smeared in public, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

The British Library in London is to share its conservation expertise with the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit. A conservation studio with guidance from British Library conservation experts in the West Bank will be set up as part of the Conservation for Digitisation initiative to care for thousands of fragile paper-based artefacts ‘relating to Palestinian history and cultural heritage’, which cannot safely be taken to a conservation centre in Jerusalem, a press release from the British Library stated. The initiative is being funded through the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund. Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, director general of the Palestinian Museum, said: ‘With such expertise, the conservation studio we are establishing will be the first hub for conservation work and future training in conservation in Palestine. We aim to save large volumes of endangered photos and documents held by organisations, families and individuals, and preserve them for generations to come.’

In gallery news: New York’s Ryan Lee Gallery now represents Kota Ezawa, with a solo show planned for 2020; and Almine Rech, with galleries in Paris, London, New York and Brussels, is now heading to Shanghai – the new space will launch next month with an inaugural group show curated by Nicolas Trembley.