Briefing

Angry reaction to the planned closure of Sydney College of the Arts; the Limbach Commission to be reformed

George Orwell at the BBC

George Orwell at the BBC

  • An angry reaction has greeted news that Sydney University plans to close its art school, the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) at Callan Park in Rozelle. In an open letter to Sydney University's chancellor Belinda Hutchinson and vice-chancellor Michael Spence, more than 80 signatories demanded a halt to the closure, including many prominent alumni and donors. ‘Closures, cuts and amalgamations to these visual arts education institutions also have a negative effect on the teaching staff, the majority of whom are professional artists,’ the letter states.
     
  • The 90-year-old woman who mistakenly started filling in an artwork in the form of a crossword puzzle, now claims that she holds the copyright to the work. The 1977 work by Fluxus artist Arthur Köpcke was lent to Nuremberg’s Neues Museum where retired German dentist, Hannelore K, set to work on it, while on a visit with other pensioners. Her lawyer said that through her actions, Frau K. had been true to the spirit of Köpcke, and to the Fluxus movement he was a member of. 
     
  • German culture minister Monika Grütters has promised to reform the Limbach Commission, which adjudicates cases of Nazi-looted art. The eight-person commission, headed by a judge, has been criticized for its inaction – the commission has restituted 13 artworks in the 13 years since its founding – and for including no Jewish members. In an interview earlier this year Grütters had told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (German) that Jewish adjudicators could be faced with a ‘potential conflict of interest’. Grütters announced her intention to appoint two Jewish members and that members would no longer serve for life, but be restricted to a fixed term.
     
  • Leaving the BBC in 1943, where he worked as a talks producer, saying that it ‘was wasting my own time and the public money on doing work that produces no result’, George Orwell will be commemorated with a statue at the entrance of Broadcasting House. The money, all privately donated, was raised through a trust founded by the late Labour MP Ben Whitaker. The statue will be placed in front of one of Orwell’s most famous quotes: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

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