in News | 11 SEP 18

V&A’s Tristram Hunt Advocates Tourist Tax to Keep London Museums Free

In further news: trailer for Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf’s exhibition debut in Vienna; Pussy Riot members arrested in Moscow

in News | 11 SEP 18

Tristram Hunt, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2017. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Jack Taylor

V&A director Tristram Hunt has spoken in favour of a ‘hotel tax’ for tourists to help keep museums free. Speaking at the Royal Academy’s Festival of Ideas on Saturday, Hunt – the former Labour politician who began working for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum last year – suggested implementing a charge for overseas visitors at hotels, with funds received going towards ensuring free museum entry for UK citizens. ‘Why, when I go to New York or Florence or Rome do I pay a hotel tax to support culture in that city, and yet all the tourists who come specifically to London to enjoy culture don’t pay a hotel tax?’ Hunt said at the event. He also said that his previous recommendation that national museums introduce charges, made while serving as an MP, was wrong.

The trailer for Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf’s curatorial debut at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum has arrived. Celebrated filmmaker Anderson and novelist and costume designer Malouf (Anderson’s partner) have been combing through the museum’s historical collections – from ancient Egyptian mummies to crown jewels – for their upcoming exhibition ‘The Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures from the Kunsthistorisches Museum’, which opens 6 November. Anderson and Malouf’s exhibition is the third edition in a series of guest curators invited by the museum, following Ed Ruscha in 2012 and Edmund de Waal in 2016. The museum has released a trailer produced by Anderson, offering a taste of the objects that have caught the couple’s attention. You can watch it below. The museum has plans for the exhibition to travel to the Fondazione Prada, Milan.

The 40 artists who withdrew their work from display at the Design Museum, after the London institution hosted a private arms event, will exhibit their pieces in a free Brixton exhibition. Artists including Shepard Fairey, Jeremy Deller, Jonathan Barnbrook and the Guerrilla Girls, who pulled their artwork from the political art exhibition ‘Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18’ – in response to the museum’s decision to host a reception organized by major arms dealer Leonardo – will now be showing in a new exhibition, at Brixton Recreation Centre from 15–23 September, during the London Design Festival. ‘From Nope to Hope: Art vs Arms, Oil and Injustice’ will showcase roughly one third of the 100 artworks featured in the original show. Don’t miss Mel Evans writing on the disconnect between public museum programming and private hire: ‘Programming an exhibition about protest, design and social change isn’t enough. It’s time to speak up.’

A contractor is suing Maryland’s Glenstone Foundation for USD$24 million. HITT Contracting, responsible for the expansion of the private museum – founded by Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales to showcase their collection of postwar art – filed a lawsuit at the end of August accusing the foundation of breach of contract and mismanagement. They say the foundation repeatedly disrupted and delayed work and that millions of dollars-worth of unpaid fees has left the contracting firm ‘exposed’ to USD$14 million in claims from subcontractors. ‘Hitt and its subcontractors were effectively forced to self-fund the project for the benefit of defendant for months at a time,’ the complaint said. In a written statement, the foundation said: ‘We look forward to responding to these claims vigorously in court, where we are confident they will be found to be without merit.’ The museum expansion is due to open to the public on 4 October.

The Brant Foundation is to launch a new project space in New York’s East Village. Peter Brant, the art collector and publisher of the recently relaunched Interview magazine, is planning to open a bricks-and-mortar project space in a century-old building on 421 East 6th Street, previously the home and studio of famed sculptor Walter de Maria. The 7,000 square foot venue will open with a solo show of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat in collaboration with the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The new space is the Brant Foundation’s second location, the first being an exhibition space in Greenwich, Connecticut. Despite owing USD$3.3 million to former employees, Peter Brant recently relaunched Interview magazine after repurchasing it just three months after filing for bankruptcy.

In appointments news: Dominic Willsdon has been named the director of the Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia; Moritz Wesseler has been appointed as the new director of the Fridericianum museum in Kassel Germany; and London’s Tate Modern has named Yasufumi Nakamori as Senior Curator of International Art (Photography).

In gallery news: New York’s Johannes Vogt Gallery is moving from the Lower East Side to the second floor of 958 Madison Avenue on the city’s Upper East Side, which will be inaugurated with an Abby Leigh solo exhibition on 20 September; and Nino Mier Gallery – currently with one project space in Cologne and two galleries in Los Angeles – is to open its third location in Los Angeles, at 7277 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, with a Celeste Dupuy-Spencer solo exhibition planned for 22 September.

Two members of Pussy Riot have been arrested in Moscow. Veronika Nikulshina and an unidentified friend were detained by police while driving. ‘Moscow police is now claiming that Nika and her friend were refusing to agree to a ‘terrorist check’ of their car – and they had to be arrested. Crazy accusations!’ tweeted the punk feminist art collective. Another member of Pussy Riot, Peter Versilov, was also reportedly arrested outside of his home. The Russian punk activist group claim the string of arrests are punishment for their 2018 World Cup pitch invasion protest.