This week’s rolling news roundup

15–21 July

La Biennale Paris, Grand Palais

This week started under the sign of controversy, marked by a series of resignations. Two chairmen of the vetting committee of La Biennale Paris (formerly the Biennale des Antiquaires) stepped down two months before the art fair’s planned opening at the Grand Palais: Frédéric Castaing, who is in charge of the National Company of Experts (CNE), and Michel Maket, who heads up the Syndicat Fançais of Professional Experts in Works of Art and Collectibles. Both organisations were in charge of guaranteeing the quality and authenticity of the objects presented at the fair, but since a fake evaded the vetters and was sold at the 2016 edition, the art fair’s team is being has come under scrutiny. Relatives of Castaing, speaking to Le Figaro, cited the lack of professional ethics of La Biennale, arguing that ‘an organisation as serious as the CNE [who also vets for prestigious events such as TEFAF] cannot be responsible for an event which is out of control, nor can they turn a blind eye to the fact that some of the exhibitors are still currently under investigation’. Meanwhile in the UK, the public row over the ethics of institutional sponsorship escalated, when Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif resigned as a trustee of the British Museum, writing an excoriating blog on the institution for the London Review of Books. Soueif, who has sat on the board since June 2012, took the museum to task on a range of issues, including its sponsorship from oil giant BP; the contract and labour rights of staff; and its relative lack of public comment on issues of restitution.

Künstlerhaus Stuttgart has announced the appointment of Eric Golo Stone as its new artistic director. The American writer, artist and curator who founded Artists Contracts, a research space that looks at artists’s engagements with legal contracts within their practices, will replace Fatima Hellberg on 1 January 2020. Stone has previously been a curator at LAXART, Los Angeles (2013–2017), and in 2018 he organised the exhibition Contractual Situations We Live By at the Kunsthalle Bern. His writing has won the 2018 Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and Stone is currently working on various books as well as a forthcoming exhibition about the relationships between art, tax law and systematic inequality in the US at Artists Space, New York, titled US Code: Title 26.

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