BY Frieze News Desk in News | 05 FEB 19

Tracey Emin Retracts Support for ‘Terrible’ Blair and Cameron; Calls Brexit ‘Insane’

In further news: MoMA to temporarily close; David Adjaye calls for museum championing black British culture

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 05 FEB 19

Tracey Emin, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: David M. Benett

British artist Tracey Emin has expressed regret for her previous support for prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, and has described Brexit as ‘hideous’. At the opening of her new exhibition at White Cube gallery in Bermondsey, London, Emin – who has backed the Labour and Conservative parties in the past – condemned Blair over the Iraq War and Cameron over his decision to call the EU referendum. She said that Blair and Cameron ‘who are fine politicians and essentially good people will be remembered in history for doing the most terrible things to our political system and I don’t understand why they fell for it, I don’t understand why they did it.’ On Brexit, Emin commented: ‘It is really insane. If we leave Europe and it turns out OK and we’re happy eating our cabbages and we’re happy living on an island with our island mentality then fine, I’ll go along with that. But I don’t think it’s going to work out like that.’

As part of its USD$450 million renovation and expansion project, New York’s Museum of Modern Art will temporarily close, from 15 June until 21 October. The museum will reopen with a focus on women, Latino, Asian and African American and other overlooked artists, outside of the traditional art historical canon. It will relaunch with solo exhibitions devoted to the African American artists Pope L. and Betye Saar, and a Latin American survey show later this year. ‘A new generation of curators is discovering the richness of what is in our collection, and there is great work being made around the world that we need to pay attention to,’ director Glenn D. Lowry told the New York Times.

British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye, who designed the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., has called for a museum of Black British culture in the UK. Adjaye told the BBC that the ‘long overdue’ museum would help new generations of black people in the country feel part of its ‘language, DNA and roots’.

Germany has allocated EUR€1.9 million to investigate the provenance of colonial-era artworks and artefacts in its museum collections. A new eight-member committee, the Art Newspaper reports, will include Bénédicte Savoy, the co-author of a recent study calling for France to return artworks taken from African countries. Culture minister Monika Grütters said that colonial history had been a ‘blind spot’ for decades. ‘Provenance research of items with a colonial context is an important contribution to a closer examination,’ she said.

In gallery, prizes and appointments news: Stuart Shave Modern Art gallery in London represents the US-based sculptor Michael E. Smith in the UK, with a solo exhibition planned for October; Sean Scully is represented in North America by Lisson Gallery; Eugenio Viola is joining the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá as chief curator; and the Met’s curator of Italian and Spanish drawings Carmen C. Bambach is the recipient of the inaugural Vilcek Prize for Excellence, awarded each year to ‘an immigrant who has had a significant impact on American society and world culture.’