The Week in Art

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Art theft: are museums safe under lockdown?

We explore how safe museums are from theft now that they are closed and cities are under lockdown due to the coronavirus. We talk to Martin Bailey about the recent theft of a Van Gogh in the Netherlands, the history of stolen Van Goghs and who steals art and why. We also talk to Vernon Rapley, the director of cultural heritage protection & security at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, about how safe the museum is as London’s streets remain deserted. Plus, Laura Cumming picks the latest Lonely Work behind closed doors in a museum: Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus from the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. And we have a special contribution from the artist—and cartoonist for The Art Newspaper—Pablo Helguera.

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6/16/2022

Francis Bacon: Tate archive controversy; NY photographer Alice Austen; Michel Majerus in Basel

This week: why is Tate rejecting an archive of material relating to Francis Bacon, 18 years after acquiring it? Our London correspondent Martin Bailey tells us about his recent scoop that Tate is returning a thousand documents and sketches said to have come from the studio of Francis Bacon to Barry Joule, a close friend of the artist, who donated them to Tate in 2004. We then discuss the material with Martin Harrison, the pre-eminent Bacon scholar and editor of the catalogue raisonné of Francis Bacon’s work published in 2016, and to Sophie Pretorius, the archivist at the Estate of Francis Bacon, who went through the Barry Joule archive item by item. Victoria Munro, the director of the Alice Austen House Museum in New York, discusses this still too-little-known photographer, and her documentation of immigration to the United States and the lives of queer women in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Weißes Bild (1994), a painting by the late Luxembourg-born artist Michel Majerus, now on view at Art Basel—Aimee Dawson, acting digital editor, is at the fair and talks to Giovanni Carmine, curator of the Unlimited section, in which the painting appears.Sophie Pretorius’s essay Work on the Barry Joule Archive is in the book Francis Bacon: Shadows published by the Estate of Francis Bacon and Thames and Hudson.For more on the Alice Austen House Museum, visit aliceausten.org. The podcast My Dear Alice is out in the autumn.Art Basel, until 19 June.