Rolling news: 8 February – 14 February

Armenia gets a biennial... Tate Modern neighbours lose legal appeal...

British Museum protest. Photo: instagram.com/bpnotbp

Activists protesting oil company BP’s sponsorship of the Troy: myth and reality exhibition at the British Museum, staged a sit-in for over 50 hours at the museum this weekend. On Friday morning last week, around 60 members of the group BP Or Not BP led a 13ft-tall Trojan horse onto museum grounds, before holding various unauthorised activities including sculpture-making workshops in the exhibition rooms. Hartwig Fischer, director of the museum, stated that the museum respected the group's right to express their views, but also emphasised the importance of sponsorship to delivering exhibitions and an extensive public programme. The British Museum has been repeatedly targeted over its corporate partnerships with fossil fuel companies. 

Following the cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Central, another Hong Kong art fair, also pulled the plug on its 2020 edition citing the continued coronavirus epidemic. In a statement published on their website fair organisers said: 'In order to protect the health and safety of all participants, Art Central has cancelled its upcoming edition previously scheduled for 18–22 March 2020. We deeply appreciate the support of our galleries, partners and community, and we express our sympathies to all those affected.'

For the 2020 pavilion, which also marks the 20th anniversary on the annual architecture commission, the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned the Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace. The firm is directed by co-founders Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar, an all-woman team who were all born in 1990, making them the youngest architects to have ever been commissioned by the Serpentine.

Never before exhibited prints by Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray, who died in December last year, are currently on view at the Glasgow Print Studio. Though Gray was best known for his novels Lanark (1981), and Poor Things (1992), his drawings too were well regarded and remain in the collections of institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Arts Council of England.

An appeal by residents of the block of luxury flats opposite Tate Modern to stop what they called 'near constant surveillance by the gallery’s visitors has been dismissed. The residents initially took Tate to court in 2016 after the gallery completed the extension which saw a viewing terrace installed in the new Blavatnik Building, allowing visitors access to a panoramic view of London, which happened to include the Neo Bankside apartment development. In February 2019, Tate won the case. A legal representative for the residents states that they are considering further action. 

Armenia is to get its first biennial, opening in the autumn. The newly formed Yerevan Biennial Art Foundation announced the exhibition is to take place across Armenia’s capital 24 September to 31 December and will feature new and historical work from over 30 international artists, including Armenian artists and artists of Armenian descent based abroad, though as yet, no names have been announced.

Clément Chéroux has been appointed the new Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz chief curator of photography at MoMA, New York, leaving his role as the senior curator of the Pritzker center for photography at SFMOMA, San Francisco. He will take up the position in June, succeeding Quentin Bajac, who was in the role from 2013-2018, and is currently heading the Jeu de Paume, Paris as director. Chéroux will be looking after all aspects of the department, including its installations, acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, and loan programs.