Courtauld Gallery to close for two years for £50m revamp The project represents the biggest redevelopment of the Courtauld Institute of Art and its gallery since it moved in 1989 to the 18th century, Grade 1-listed Somerset House in the Strand, London. It expects visitor numbers to increase from the 2016 figure of 188,000, to between 300,000 and 350,000 when it reopens in 2020. Westminster city council’s planning report says 143 sq metres of floorspace is to be created through the ‘reconfiguration and rationalisation of existing areas’.

Brexit ‘bombshell’ for UK’s European Capital of Culture 2023 plans The European Commission has cancelled the UK’s turn to host the European Capital of Culture after Brexit. Five bids have already been made to hold the title in 2023 – Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry. But the commission has said the UK will no longer be eligible to have a host city after it leaves the EU in 2019. The Creative Industries Federation said it was “gutted” by the announcement, while arts minister John Glen called it a “crazy decision”.

Creative Industries Federation responds to the Budget John Kampfner, chief executive of the Federation, has expressed his disappointment with Wednesday’s  Budget announcement. He said: “With the creative industries already contributing £87bn to the economy, the government has missed an important opportunity to invest in the UK’s fastest growing sector at a critical time for the country. All this comes at a time of lacklustre growth forecasts and the apportioning of a further £3bn to deal with faltering Brexit negotiations.” In addition, the Federation has produced an in-depth analysis of the Budget for its members, which identifies the proposals that it feels will mpact on the creative sector.

Aberdeen Art Gallery £30m redevelopment delayed The gallery closed in 2015 and was originally due to reopen in late 2017. However, Aberdeen City Council said the construction schedule for the redevelopment is now to be extended. The gallery is now expected to reopen in late 2018 or early 2019. The council’s culture lead Marie Boulton said the delay was “unacceptable”.

Putin-backed culture forum in St Petersburg sparks debate over artistic freedoms in Russia In the lead-up to the forum, some members of Russia’s arts scene called for an outright boycott of the event, saying it is window dressing for a repressive regime, while others said it is morally defensible to attend only for the purpose of speaking out in defense of the artistic freedom. Some had cited the arrest in August of the theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov on charges of fraud and misuse of government funds as indicative of the state of artistic freedom in Russia.

Curator of queer art exhibition called before Brazil’s senate Gaudêncio Fidelis is the curator of ‘Queermuseu’, an exhibition dedicated to queer art that was staged at Santander Cultural in Porto Alegre in Brazil earlier this year. Fidelis came under fire from right-wing groups who targeted the exhibition, claiming it promoted blasphemy, paedophilia, and child prostitution. Conservatives denounced the show and vandalized the building, which led Santander Cultural to close the show early.

Christo and Smithsonian sued for copyright infringement over Running Fence images Photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni says copies of his pictures of the California land art project were shown and reproduced without his knowledge.

1. Somerset House, home of the Courtauld Institute and the Courtauld Gallery since 1989. Photo: Stephen Richards. Creative Commons by 2.0

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