Briefing

Sir Howard Hodgkin dies aged 84; finalists for Berlin’s Preis der Nationalgalerie 2017 announced

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Sir Howard Hodgkin photographed in from of his painting Home, Home on the Range, 2001-7, at his 2008 exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

Sir Howard Hodgkin photographed in from of his painting Home, Home on the Range, 2001–07, at his 2008 exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

  • British artist Sir Howard Hodgkin has died, aged 84. Describing himself as a ‘figurative painter of emotional situations,’ Hodgkin represented Britain at the 1984 Venice Biennale and was the second artist to win the Turner Prize in 1985. His death comes weeks before the opening of his show ‘Absent Friends’, his first show of portraits, at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Former Tate director, Sir Nicholas Serota, who curated Hodgkin’s first retrospective, at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, in 1976, said: ‘Hodgkin was one of the great artists and colourists of his generation. His sensuous, intense paintings were infused with his love and understanding of late 19th century French painting, especially Degas, Vuillard, and Bonnard, and by his feeling for the heat and colours of India, which he visited on many occasions.’
     
  • French collector, business magnate and chairman and CEO of the LVMH Group, Bernard Arnault, is to build another museum in Paris. In a presentation attended by French President François Hollande, Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Arnault announced plans to transform the former Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires into a cultural centre, hosting exhibitions and events under the new name ‘La Maison LVMH/Arts, Talents, Patrimonie’. Located near Arnault’s Louis Vuitton Foundation, which opened in 2014, the 11-story building has been vacant since 2005. The €158 million project will be led by Frank Gehry architects and is slated to open in 2022. 
     
  • The finalists for the Preis der Nationalgalerie 2017 have been announced as Sol Calero, Iman Issa, Jumana Manna, and Agnieszka Polska. An exhibition by the four artists will open in September at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof. Awarded every two years, the prize is for artists living and working in the German capital under 40 years of age. The last winner awarded the prize in 2015, was Anne Imhof, who will represent Germany at the 57th Venice Biennale this May.
     
  • Elsewhere in Berlin, German police conducted a pre-dawn raid on the studio of artist Julian Charrière last Wednesday, confiscating a work destined for the first Antarctic Biennale. Titled The Purchase of the South Pole, the work is a one-tonne air cannon designed to fire a single coconut that the Swiss-French artist took from Bikini Atoll, the site of US nuclear tests in the 1940s and ’50s.
     
  • Christie’s is closing its South Kensington salesroom in London and reducing its Amsterdam operations at the end of 2017. Guillaume Cerutti, the auction house’s chief exective, said, ‘The art market is fast-evolving. We have been looking at the globalization of the market in the last decade and need to be present and strong where the clients are.’ Potential layoffs are expected for up to 250 of the auction house’s employees, or 12 percent of its workforce.
     
  • Iraqi archeologists have discovered a previously unknown Assyrian temple, possibly dating back to the fifth or sixth centuries BCE, amid escape tunnels dug by ISIS militants. The temple was found beneath the destroyed tomb of the prophet Jonah in Mosul, which was housed in the twelfth-century Mosque of the Prophet Jonah. Both Jonah’s mosque and tomb were blown up by ISIS in 2014. Experts at the British Museum believe that ISIS’s tunnels went so far underground that they managed to accidentally uncover the temple, which is cut into bedrock.

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