Chanel supports National Portrait Gallery

Plus: nightlife at V&A Dundee

maxwell museums friday briefing - 19 March 2021

Breaking news this morning: BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz is to leave the corporation after 11 years to take up the newly-created role of director of arts and learning at London’s Barbican Centre. The Barbican is one of the capital’s major venues for exhibitions (and much more), and as it approaches its 40th anniversary next year, he’s tasked with a "major renewal" of the venue. Definitely one to watch.

With a third-wave of coronavirus currently building in Europe, hope of travel to the continent this summer is fading fast. The closest we’re likely to get is reading about travel so my interview with Julia Buckley, who’s been reporting on the brief reopening of Florence’s museums, is particularly prescient. If you missed it in your inbox this week, catch up here.

Read on for the news!


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This week’s top story

French luxury fashion house Chanel has revealed a series of unique initiatives and partnerships which will provide ongoing support for museums, galleries and artists. Via their new Culture Fund, they’ll launch the Chanel Next Prize, awarding €100,000 to ten artists across music, dance, performance and the visual arts who are radically redefining their fields. They’ll also support a three-year project to improve the representation of women in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, and a multi-year programme recognising designers, artists and scientists at Paris’s Centre Pompidou. Harper’s Bazaar

Why it matters

Brand collaborations are nothing new, and they offer excellent opportunities for museums and galleries. (Here are 10 stand-out recent examples). But post-pandemic they could shift away from a purely commercial or marketing focus, towards long-term collaborative projects focussed on brand positioning. And for museums, they could become the only realistic way certain lengthy projects can be funded as core budgets need to stay focused on keeping the lights on. As the National Portrait Gallery’s project shows, a museum’s work can massively align with a commercial brand’s values and their desire to work on initiatives with a ‘purpose.’


This week’s other news

Get on the floor. Scotland’s museums have been given the go ahead to reopen at the end of April. Why not celebrate by partying like it’s 1999 at the V&A Dundee, who announced they’ll open with a brand new exhibition on the history of nightclub design. The National


Living for the weekend. Londoners are starved of art right now, but come the summer we can BINGE thanks to the inaugural London Gallery Weekend. Nearly 90 galleries - including White Cube, David Zwirner, Gagosian and Sadie Coles - are on board for the June event. It’ll be the art blowout we all need. The Art Newspaper

1066 and all that. The Bayeux Tapestry should be restored in Britain according to the chief of the V&A Tristram Hunt. It’s hoped the famous tapestry will go on display in the UK, but the mayor of Bayeux has suggested that if Britain wants to secure the loan, it should foot the conservation costs. The Times

New home in NYC. New York’s Frick Collection opened in a temporary new home this week. The brutalist 60s building which recently housed the Met Breuer, is now the Frick Madison, and will display highlights from the world class art collection for the next two years. Forbes

M+ in HK. A decade in the making, the stunning new Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ Museum in Hong Kong has been completed and will open later this year (although there’s already been controversy as pro-Beijing lawmakers questioned if the new museum will threaten national security). Wallpaper*

“an artefact shaped by tragedy.” A cross made from a wrecked refugee boat - where 311 people drowned in the Mediterranean in 2013 - is to go on tour. The Lampedusa Cross will be lent by the British Museum to 7 towns and cities across England in a display highlighting the ongoing humanitarian crises faced by refugees. The Guardian

Sprint to your laptop. The governing body of athletics is launching an online museum. World Athletics president Seb Coe has said the Museum of World Athletics is the first virtual sports museum of any kind in the world. Athletics Weekly  

Eh? Marina Abramovic has partnered with wetransfer to unveil a ‘digital manifestation’ of her mindfulness method, which teaches file-uploaders how to “be present in both time and space.” If anyone knows what means, do get in touch. designboom

Splash Planet. An Ed Sheeran painting raises £51,000 for cancer charity. Thinking out loud: it’s not to my taste. BBC News


Love museums? Then you’ll love this newsletter! Get the next edition sent direct to your inbox. It’s the easiest way to stay up-to-date with the world of museums.