Men to be allowed to visit 'women-only' exhibit

10 Apr 2024

An exhibit at a Tasmanian museum must allow men admission following a court ruling in a gender discrimination case.

The Ladies Lounge at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) has been open since 2020 and houses some of the museum's most acclaimed works.

Playing on the concept of Australian pubs, which were historically male-only spaces, the exhibit only offers women admittance. 

After being turned away from the exhibit last April, Jason Lau, a New South Wales resident, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit.

Representing himself, Lau argued the museum violates the state's anti-discrimination act by failing to provide "a fair provision of goods and services in line with the law" to ticket holders who don’t identify as female.

The museum defended its position, saying Lau's feeling of rejection was part of the artwork and that Tasmanian law permits discrimination "designed to promote equal opportunity" for historically disadvantaged people.

In his ruling, Judge Richard Grueber said it was not apparent how preventing men from seeing the artwork artworks achieved that goal.

Following the verdict, "persons who do not identify as ladies" will be allowed to access the exhibit in 28 days.  

A spokesperson for Mona has previously said the artwork would be "untenable" if the ruling was not in their favour. 

The representative said: "We are deeply disappointed by this decision," adding that the Mona would now consider its options.

Nottingham NPO embeds citizens' assembly into leadership structure

Saad Eddine Said, CEO and Artistic Director of New Art Exchange, standing outside the building
04 Apr 2024

New Art Exchange says it is the first cultural institution in the world to integrate a permanent citizen assembly into its leadership structure.

Australia trade deal introduces royalties for UK artists

03 Apr 2024

UK artists will earn new royalties when their work is resold in Australia as part of a free trade agreement between the UK and Australia, the government has said.

The Department for Trade and Industry says rules introduced last week mean UK artists can claim resale royalties each time their art - including paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs - is resold in the Australian professional art market. 

Artists are now entitled to resale royalties in line with the Australian system, currently 5% of the sale price of artworks sold commercially for AU$1,000 or more, where previously they would not have received anything. 

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said: “Thanks to this new Free Trade Agreement, British artists will be fairly rewarded for their efforts and be able to claim resale royalties in line with the system [in Australia]. 

"This is just one part of our plan to grow our booming creative industries even further, benefiting talented British artists that are in demand around the world.” 

Female-led contemporary art gallery to open in Birmingham

26 Mar 2024

A non-profit arts organisation is launching a commercial contemporary gallery next month in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, with support from Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

Stryx Gallery will be a new venture from Stryx, a female-led arts residency, studios and exhibition space in Digbeth.

The organisation's co-directors, Anna Katarzyna Domejko and Karolina Korupczynska, say the new space will allow people to invest in affordable art while supporting emerging and mid-career artists.

The initial exhibition, opening on 13 April, will feature 10 artists from the West Midlands, with prices of art works ranging from £30 to £1,000.

New charity to fund sector solutions to climate change

19 Mar 2024

A new charity is planning to bring visual arts and music organisations together by funding projects delivering impactful environmental solutions.

Murmur is launching with over £1m in pledges from partner organisations in the visual arts and music industries including leading galleries and music labels.

It has already delivered several pilot grants, including one to the British Phonographic Industry and the Association of Independent Music to establish the Music Climate Pact.

The charity will deliver grants in three categories. Grants to 'Change the Industry' projects will look to make positive change within the visual arts and music sector, 'Change the Conversation' grants will be available to projects inspiring new ways of storytelling and positive action around climate change and 'Change the World' grants will go to projects that have tangible global impacts on climate change.

Murmur says it will welcome new partners as it “aims to galvanise the whole arts and music sector”. To become a partner, businesses must commit to a carbon audit and reduction of their carbon emissions in line with a 1.5C future and make annual financial contributions to the charty’s shared fund based on their environmental impact.

“Our mission is to transform these industries from the inside out, making environmental responsibility integral to their operation,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees and one of Murmur’s creators, Caius Pawson.

“Joining us is not about gaining a privilege, it’s about making a profound commitment to change - not only in the way you conduct your business but also in how we collectively shape our industry.”

Creative Scotland withdraws 'sex project' funding

14 Mar 2024

Creative Scotland has withdrawn funding for a project featuring participants engaging in "non-simulated" sex and "hardcore" acts.

The funding body had previously agreed to award £85,000 for the development of the Rein project, a 45-minute film by director Leonie Rae Gasson that was initially presented as “an exploration of dyke sexuality”.

But concerns were raised after the project's website advertised for people to take part in "non-simulated" sex, including "hardcore" acts for a fee of £270 per day.

A statement issued by Creative Scotland today (14 March) said the latest phase of the project "represents a breach of the conditions of funding award, as the nature of the project has changed". 

"The central role that ‘non-simulated’ (i.e real) sex acts now play in the project, marks a significant change to the nature of the work presented in the original application which was assessed for funding," the statement said. 

"Following a review of the application, assessment, and contractual agreement regarding the project Rein, Creative Scotland has made the decision to withdraw support for this project and will be seeking recovery of funding paid in respect of this award to date."

Earlier this week Scotland's Culture Secretary Angus Robertson told the Scottish parliament that Rein should not have received public money and that he “shared the concerns that have been raised”.

Council rent subsidy saves Bath arts charity from closure

14 Mar 2024

A charity providing affordable artist workshop space in Bath has been saved from closure thanks to a local council rent subsidy.

44AD, which is based in premises on the city’s Abbey Street, has agreed a three-year lease extension for £10,000 per year, well below what Bath & North East Somerset Council believes is the market value of £40,000 per annum.

The decision is part of the council’s plan to establish the city’s nearby Milsom Quarter as a fashion, art and design destination. 

Paul Roper, Cabinet Member for Economic and Cultural Sustainable Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Thriving creative arts charities like 44AD have many social and economic benefits and enable more people in our communities to access the arts.

“Making sure established art spaces such as this one can keep providing affordable, creative workspaces for start-ups and small businesses is key to positioning this area of Bath as a leading arts and fashion destination.”

He added that the council’s support “will also help the charity stay financially resilient by allowing it to access grant funding”.

Katie O’Brien, 44AD Project Director, said: “To have security of tenure will enable us to access funding streams, plan ahead and develop more arts projects which champion the creative expression and ideas of young people, students, graduates, local artists, along with our many visitors.”

Tate Britain seeks to contextualise 'offensive' mural

13 Mar 2024

Tate Britain has unveiled a new video work made in response to a 1927 mural that has been closed to the public since 2020 due to its offensive imagery.

‘Vive Voce’, a two-screen 20-minute video by Keith Piper, is installed next to the Rex Whistler painting, ‘The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats’, in what was formerly the London gallery’s restaurant.

The film depicts an academic challenging Whistler about the mural, which includes offensive depictions of black slaves on a leash and caricatures of Chinese people.

Tate said the film explores "the social and political context of 1920s Britain”. It includes archive footage of black soldiers in World War One and the ‘Races in Residence’ pavilion at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition.

Piper said he wanted "to give a sense of how and why the mural exists” and defended Tate Britain’s decision to keep the work rather than remove it.

He said: "I know there is an argument among young people now that these images re-traumatise, but I think we either look or forget.

"We are very good at forgetting nowadays and things that are out of sight go out of mind. To keep a clear sense of history we need to see these things.”

Collectors remove art from Barbican over 'censorship and repression'

07 Mar 2024

Two collectors have revoked loans of artworks on display at a Barbican exhibition after the institute backed out of hosting a talk in early February by the writer Pankaj Mishra entitled 'The Shoah after Gaza', accusing the institution of "censorship and repression".

In a statement to The Guardian, the Barbican said its decision to withdraw the talk, hosted in partnership with the London Review of Books (LRB) winter lecture series, was made in response to the LRB “prematurely” publicising the lecture and its title.

A description of the talk posed the question: “What is the fate of universal values after Israel’s collapse into violent nationalism?” The Barbican said its senior team did not have time to "do the careful preparation needed for this sensitive content”. 

Following the decision, two quilts by Loretta Pettway that were being exhibited at the Barbican were removed at the request of the owners Lorenzo Legarda Leviste and his husband, Fahad Mayet.

A sign on the plinth where the works were on display says: “These two works have been withdrawn at the request of the lenders, as an act of solidarity with Palestine, in response to the Barbican’s decision to not host the London Review of Books (LRB) Winter Lecture Series.” 

Leviste contacted the exhibition curators with concerns over the Barbican’s cancellation of Mishra's talk. In his email correspondence with the curators, which he has published in full online, he accuses the Barbican of enforcing “censorship and repression,” from which “fascism emerges and our freedoms are eroded.”

The curators responded by saying they are “against anti-Palestinian racism and all kinds of racism, and are deeply horrified at the brutal genocide of Palestinians in Gaza”, adding that there was "no intention to censor the speaker involved" and an "agreement was reached with the LRB that they would use an alternative venue".

They added that holding the talk would have been contrary to the Barbican's policy of "properly considering" how to address sensitive topics.

In a statement to The Art Newspaper, Leviste said the Barbican was "refusing to engage with the serious and urgent questions that we’ve posed about how internal decisions are made and who makes them".

"These are answers that the public is owed, particularly given the systemic recurrence of repressive and racist incidents at the Barbican.”

Last June, the Barbican was accused of censorship when it asked a Palestinian speaker to avoid discussing Palestine at length during an event. The organisation later apologised, describing the decision as “a serious error of judgment”, for which it was “deeply sorry”. It has since hosted the London Palestine Film Festival, in November.

We need a global standard to protect artists’ rights

Image of artwork in two panels
06 Feb 2024

The results of a recent survey on AI and artists’ work reveal serious anxieties. Artist Adelaide Damoah calls on government to act to safeguard artists’ rights.

UK visual artists earn £10m in royalties during 2023

29 Jan 2024

Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) has announced that it distributed £10.1m in Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) royalties in 2023.

The sum was split between 1,893 visual artists and estates, 228 of which were first-time payments to artists whose works had only recently begun selling above the threshold value of  €1,000 on the secondary market.

ARR was introduced into UK law in 2006. Since then, DACS has paid a total of over £125m in resale royalties, benefiting 6,121 artists and estates. 

Christian Zimmermann, DACS Chief Executive, said: “These monies recognise both artists' and estates' contributions to our society and the economy, with an art market worth £9.5bn and our creative industries contributing £116bn to UK GDP.

“Royalties go beyond financial transactions - they are essential catalysts for reinvestment, empowering artists to create and estates to preserve the artist's enduring legacy."

Hibiscus Rising: The power of public art

Hibiscus Rising sculpture against a blue sky
28 Nov 2023

From public sculptures to powerful performances, new commissions have a unique ability to connect with audiences – which is why Art Fund is keen to support them, explains Robert Dingle.  

Arnolfini closes amid Palestine Film Festival protests

27 Nov 2023

An arts centre that withdrew from hosting two events as part of the Bristol Palestine Film Festival closed its doors to the public this weekend following a protest organised by activist group Rise Up For Palestine.

The group held a sit-in in Arnolfini's bookshop and foyer on Friday (24 November) and had publicised plans for a second demonstration on Sunday.

Arnolfini posted on Instagram that it would not open over the weekend "to take care of the team".

The gallery has faced criticism since it announced that it had made the “difficult decision” not to host a previously scheduled film screen screening followed by a panel discussion and a live poetry night.

More than 2,200 people have signed an open letter opposing the gallery’s decision, noting that it hosted a film screening and panel discussion last year as part of the festival.

In its statement, Arnolfini cited the “difficulty for arts charities hosting events that might be construed as political activity”. The gallery said that because the events included film, performance, and discussion panels, it "could not be confident that the event would not stray into political activity.”

“The current tensions ... mean it is more likely events might be construed as political activity; it is beyond our available resources to adequately risk-assess [such] events at this current time.”

How much is a painting worth?

Two curators installing Going to the Match
27 Nov 2023

One year after the purchase of Lowry's Going to the Match, that's a question Julia Fawcett has been pondering - and not just in monetary terms.

UK art market supports over 50,000 jobs and businesses

22 Nov 2023

The UK art market directly supported 45,520 jobs and 7,800 businesses in 2023, the latest annual report from the British Art Market Federation has revealed.
Figures in the report estimate that the fiscal contribution made by the UK art market was nearly £1.6bn in 2022. It also suggests that last year, the sector spent an estimated £2.6bn on specialised services and products supporting a further 37,900 jobs in the UK.

Globally, the report indicated that the UK art market retained its position as the second largest international hub for trading art, behind the USA, with aggregate sales in 2022 of £9.7bn. However, market share has declined from 21% in 2016 to 18% in 2022, well below a high point of 34% in 2008.

The report cites the pandemic and the disruption to UK/EU trade generated by Brexit as causing the "deterioration" in the UK’s global position.

Warning that the UK risks "losing the battle to attract worldwide sales at the highest level of values" because of a decline in cross-border trade, the report determined that “London’s significance as an art market hub is not built on sourcing business locally but on the flow of works of art in and out of London", adding “there is strong empirical evidence that imports of art and antiques are highly correlated with the growth of the art market.”

Art Fund initiative studies impact of art on the brain

08 Nov 2023

An initiative developed by Art Fund is visualising the impact art displayed in museums and galleries has on people’s brains.

The experiment will see headsets that show how art affects brainwaves toured across museums and galleries in the UK. The devices have already been used at London’s Courtauld Gallery.

The headsets are connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG) monitor, which allows people’s brainwaves to be visualised on screens in 3D and in real time.

Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman told Sky News the experiment is the charity’s latest initiative to encourage visitors to return to museums and galleries.

"This is a way of just showing us exactly what happens in our brains and how exciting it is to actually be back in a museum context, back in a gallery, seeing real art, having that experience."

"What we're trying to do with this experiment is show how fantastic the museum experience is and encourage people back."

Does AI image generation infringe artists' copyright?

06 Nov 2023

Artists are increasingly concerned that generative AI is stealing their copyright. Lawyers Patrick Wheeler and Zoë Deckker consider whether existing law provides creators adequate protection against the rise of AI-generated artworks.

Arts charity for vulnerable people to close

01 Nov 2023

An arts charity which helps children and vulnerable people has announced that it will close due to financial pressures and falling volunteer numbers.

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts (The Bridge) in Darlington said it will close permanently on 31 March 2024.

"The last few years have been challenging ones, as they have been for many charities," a statement issued by the charity said.

"Even with financial support from various grants provided, the current income falls well short of the core costs of operating The Bridge. As a registered charity, the Trustees would be irresponsible to knowingly let the charity run into bankruptcy."

The statement added that a "rapidly dwindling" number of volunteers able to give the time and effort needed to keep The Bridge in operation was also a consideration in the decision. 

"The few remaining were finding it an increasing burden and, for a variety of understandable reasons, are unable to increase that personal support," it said.

Henry Moore Institute to close for major renovation

30 Oct 2023

The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds will close next month for renovation works expected to last until next summer.

The refurbishment will include a new dedicated public engagement workshop, an improved welcome area and Research Library entrance, refreshed activity space and new toilets and baby changing facilities.

Meanwhile, solar panels will be installed on the roof.

Laurence Sillars, Head of the Henry Moore Institute, said: "These alterations will bring a significant step-change to how, and where, our programmes are experienced, retaining our world-renowned research facilities while ensuring that young people — our potential great creative thinkers of the future — feel at home. 

"We’re looking forward to reopening our doors next summer with revitalised spaces that better serve our visitors and the vibrant communities of Leeds and beyond.”

The institute will close to the public from 27 November.

Plans for Eastbourne arts centre revealed

24 Oct 2023

Proposals for a new arts, education and cultural centre sited on a 19th Century dairy farm in the South Downs have been announced. 

The project, called Black Robin Farm, is part of a partnership between the contemporary art gallery Towner Eastbourne and Eastbourne Borough Council, with a design by architects Feilden Fowles recently submitted for planning approval.

The submission follows Eastbourne Borough Council's successful £19.8m funding bid to the government's Levelling Up Fund. It is hoped that Black Robin Farm will draw 100,000 visitors annually within five years, helping to boost Eastbourne’s economy. 

Working with East Sussex College Group, Towner Eastbourne will use the site to offer qualifications and skills training for young adults to support career development in the creative, leisure and tourism sectors. It also plans to provide artist opportunities through commissions, residencies, showcasing and workspace.

If planning permission is granted, the next steps for the project will be working with stakeholders and communities over the next four years. 

Joe Hill, CEO and Director of Towner Eastbourne said: ”Our ambition is to ensure genuinely inclusive access to art and culture through artist commissions and other professional development opportunities, skills development initiatives and creative engagement programmes for children and adults, especially those from Eastbourne's most disadvantaged communities.

“Our vision is to change lives through high-quality creative and cultural experiences that raise aspirations, change career directions and improve life outcomes."


Subscribe to Visual arts