A mummy in the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum (image via Wikimedia Commons)

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The British Museum is hiring a team of curators specifically dedicated to monitoring the rampant looting of Egyptian and Nubian artifacts. UK-based experts in archaeology, partnered with a sophisticated database, will work alongside experts in Cairo and Khartoum to observe shady provenances on precious cultural objects. Auction houses, galleries, and eBay will be under close watch. The team will report any objects possibly eligible for restitution to law enforcement agencies, including Scotland Yard and US Customs. [Artnet]

The European Parliament has passed a resolution to identify and recover looted art, calling for a comprehensive database of Jewish-owned artwork seized by Nazis during World War II. The resolution pushes to identify and recover works of art and cultural goods including books, manuscripts, and ritual items. The resolution notes estimate that 650,000 pieces of art were stolen during the war — an estimated 110,000 works remain missing. [via email announcement]

Korean car manufacturer Hyundai will continue its partnership with Tate through 2024 by funding five curatorial positions at the museum. The new posts will make up a newly-founded research center to widen the scope of contemporary art beyond Europe and North America to host symposia and workshops. Sook-Kyung Lee, a senior curator of international art at Tate, will lead the center. The museum writes that the center’s aim is “the reframing of art histories for the 21st century.” Two of the five posts will be based in South or East Asia and the Middle East or North Africa. [via email announcement]

Italy’s cultural landscape has been under constant shift for years as the nation tries to revamp its arts institutions despite contradictory stances on nationalist allegiances. In 2015, the New York Times reported that the Italian Culture Ministry had launched an international search for new museum directors to revive its museums. But in 2017, an Italian court annulled the appointment of five of 20 international directors. Now, Italy’s populist culture minister, Alberto Bonisoli, has signaled a plan to reestablish the presence of Italian directors at the nation’s institutions, saying that while not opposed to international museum leadership, “I don’t feel the need to go abroad.” [Artnet]

On January 23, 65th Assembly District Committeeman Chris Marte spotted a letter taped to the entrance of Jared Kushner’s newly-purchased, multi-million dollar Hotel on Rivington with a fictional proposal for the Trump Presidential Library and Museum. Its aim is to “see extensive documentation of the life and presidency of America’s 45th president,” including his tax returns from 1990 to 2017, plans of the Trump World Tower project in Moscow, and diplomas from the long-dead Trump University. Visitors will even get to buy their very own Putin postcards, Russian flags, and KKK hoods on their way out through the (likely gold-gilded) gift shop. [Bowery Boogie]

After a city-wide push to keep Banksy’s “Season’s Greetings” in a South Wales town, an Essex-based dealer, John Brandler, has purchased the street art for an undisclosed six-figure sum. Ian Lewis, a steelworker who owns the garage on which the mural is painted, sold the work for a lower offer than others, as Brandler “agreed to keep it in the town” and establish an urban art center there. [The Art Newspaper]

The modernist Union Carbide building at 270 Park Avenue has been marked for demolition. Howard I. Shapiro & Associates, a demolition consulting company, has officially filed the permits with the Department of Buildings to tear down the 1961 building. If the building is torn down, it will become the tallest skyscraper in the world to be voluntarily demolished. Last February, the city and Chase announced plans to tear down the Union Carbide for a new 70-story building, the first major development announced after the approval of the Midtown East rezoning. The demolition has been met with continued protest. [Curbed]

Faye Smith, a security guard at the Hirshhorn Museum and one of the furloughed workers affected by the longest government shutdown in history, visited Mitch McConnell’s office to urge him to end the shutdown for the sake of workers and their families across the nation. [WUSA9]

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Camden, New Jersey was named one of five Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 Public Art Challenge winner. The city will receive $1 million for a public art project titled “A New View,” which will transform sites affected by illegal dumping — an issue they say is rampant in the city, and costs Camden $4 million annually — into dynamic art spaces. [via email announcement]

Ilene Forsyth, professor emerita of art history at the University of Michigan, has gifted $8.2 million to the university. Part of the funds will establish a professorship in medieval art, honoring her late husband George H. Forsyth Jr., a medieval architectural historian who served as chair of the UMich Department of History of Art and director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The gift will also establish the Ilene H. Forsyth Fund, intended to support departmental initiatives including post-doctoral fellowships; a visiting scholars program; a student and faculty exchange program; new seminars and symposia; faculty research; and study trips for art history students. [UMich]


Pieter Lastman, “De prediking van Johannes de Doper [St John the Baptist Preaching]” (1627), 60 x 92 cm (image courtesy Schilderij and Mauritshuis)

The Mauritshuis in the Netherlands has acquired the painting “St John the Baptist Preaching” (1627) by Pieter Lastman, “Rembrandt’s most influential teacher.” The painting was purchased from a US owner with funds from the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation and a private donor. “We have been on the lookout for an outstanding example of Lastman’s work, due to the impact he had on the young Rembrandt,” said Emilie Gordenker, Director of the Mauritshuis. “We are extremely grateful to everyone who made our wish come true, especially the private donor and the Friends of the Mauritshuis.”

This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and