Week in Review: Paris Will Get a 100-Acre Park, Democrats Propose Increased Budgets for NEA and NEH

Pont d’Iéna will become a green bridge (©MIR)

Week in Review is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.

As Paris preps for the 2024 Olympic Games, architect Kathryn Gustafson will create a new park surrounding the Eiffel Tower and spanning 100 acres across Paris, making it the city’s largest green space. It will refigure the Pont d’Iéna, a bridge that links Paris’s left and right banks and leads to the tower, into a pedestrian-only walkway. “In a city this dense, we need to have large open spaces to take a breath,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement. The project will cost around €72 million (~$80.5 million) to create. [Architectural Digest]

On Monday, May 20, Paris’s Eiffel Tower was evacuated and closed after a man began scaling the monument, which stands 1,063 feet above the ground. Tourists and diners in the tower’s restaurant said they were ordered to evacuate when the climber was discovered. He reached just below the third and highest tier of the tower, refusing to come down, where he was confronted by a rescuer. It is still unclear what the climber’s motivations were. [Courthouse News]

On Tuesday, May 21, House Democrats unveiled a bill to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The new bill proposes that both receive $167.5 million, an increase of $12.5 million from current budgets. In Trump’s 2020 budget, he suggested eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. The budget request explains: “The Administration does not consider NEA activities to be core Federal responsibilities,” citing non-profits and private philanthropy as alternatives. The Democrats’s bill also suggests an increased budget for the Smithsonian Institution and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which Trump also proposed to cut. [The Hill]

The Prado Museum in Madrid is putting together a large-scale disaster protection plan to account for emergencies including fires, theft, or terrorist attacks, including a “a massive evacuation plan” for the artwork. The museum has funneled €55,600 (~$62,000) into the project. The plan will prioritize which artworks should be saved, listing the 250 most important pieces in the Prado’s collection, and create internal emergency teams to account for works like Diego Velázquez’s “Las Meninas.” In the face of the National Museum in Brazil’s devastating fire in September 2018, and the recent fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the protection of precious artifacts in case of emergency has become a continuing conversation in global museums. [El País]

Emily Kame Kngwarreye, “Summer Celebration” (1991), Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 47 5/8 in by 118 7/8 in (121 cm by 302 cm), Estimate $300/500,000 (courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Aboriginal art sales will relocate from London to New York, making it the first international auction house to offer Indigenous Australian art outside of Australia or Europe. The sale will range from historical objects to  contemporary art, including early work by Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Sotheby’s first Aboriginal art sale occurred in 1997 in Sydney. [Sotheby’s]

Over the years, Georgia has become a haven for the production world; many major films and televisions shows are produced in the southern state. But amidst national outcry surrounding reproductive rights, Hollywood actors and directors have made calls to boycott the state of Georgia, which recently instituted a “heartbeat bill,” effectively criminalizing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The future of film production in the state remains in a lurch. [NYT]

This winter, Art Basel Miami will introduce a section for monumental works, similar to the editions of the fair in Basel and Hong Kong. The section, titled Meridian, will gather 30 large-scale works organized by Magali Arriola, who curated the Mexican Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. [via email announcement]

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