Chair of Glasgow School of Art defends management of Mackintosh building at Scottish Parliament committee hearing Speaking at Holyrood’s culture committee on Thursday 15 November, Muriel Gray described the school’s building management as ‘exemplary’, despite it being gutted by a fire in June of this year.

However, she did acknowledge that more could have been done to communicate with local residents and businesses in the aftermath of the blaze.

A number were excluded from their homes and businesses for months due to the safety cordon imposed by Glasgow city council’s building control as work was done to stabilise the structure.

As the Guardian reports, Gray gave assurances that “we will not move forward a single inch without consulting them”.

Sandra White, an MSP for the city, questioned this, pointing out that the board’s decision to rebuild the Mack had been taken without local consultation. The project could take a decade to complete and will bring with it a host of disruption for local residents.

Another local MSP, Pauline McNeill, also responded by telling Gray she was “deluding herself” if she thought she had a good relationship with the local community. This was greeted with shouts of assent from residents watching the session in the public seating area.

The session also reiterated that the cause of the blaze is yet to be established, with the Scottish fire and rescue service having only just gained access to the building. In addition, Police Scotland still has 70 witnesses to interview.

David Hockney painting breaks record for a living artist, selling for $90.3m (£70.5m) Swimming pool painting, entitled Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), has set a new auction record for a living artist, beating the previous record of $58.4m record set by Jeff Koons. Christie’s called the Hockney “one of the great masterpieces of the modern era”.

Meanwhile, an Edward Hopper painting has sold for a record breaking $92m (£70.7m). The 1929 painting, entitled Chop Suey, has become the most expensive Edward Hopper work ever bought at auction. It was one of 91 paintings put up for auction by the estate of US entrepreneur Barney Ebsworth, who died in April.

The work, which Ebsworth originally bought for just $180,000 in 1973, portrays two women in conversation at a Chinese restaurant. Hopper’s previous highest selling work was East Wind Over Weehawken, which sold for $40.4m in 2013.

Another work also broke records at the Christie’s auction, with Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape selling for $68.9m. This was a new auction record for the Dutch abstract expressionist, which was previously held by Untitled XXV, which sold for $66.3m in 2016.

California wildfires threaten cultural sites The deadliest fires in Californian history have so far claimed the lives of 63 people, with more than 600 still unaccounted for (reports The Guardian), and decimated around 100,000 acres of land.

Among the cultural sites effected are Paramount Ranch, a 2,700 acre set used by the film studio to shoot a range of productions. Its star feature was Western Town, which was created in the 1950s for cowboy shows and used most recently as a setting for HBO’s Westworld. The entire town, except for its famous church building, has been lost.

The Sepulveda Adobe in Malibu Creek State Park was the second oldest building in Orange County. Built by the pioneer homesteader Don Pedro Alcantra Sepulveda for his wife Soledad and their 12 children, it was more recently used as a history museum. It was in the process of being renovated when it was destroyed.

Other well-known sites have remained closed to the public, including The Getty Villa, a 1970s recreation of an ancient Roman Villa, and the Depart Foundation, a non-profit contemporary art organisation. However, as the Art Newspaper reports, their closure was purely precautionary and the buildings are safe.

Quentin Bajac, chief curator of photography at MoMA, leaves to become director of the French national photography museum Bajac is departing is role at the Museum of Modern Art in New York after nearly five years to succeed Marta Gili, who was the founding director of Jeu de Paume, the Paris-based non-collecting institution.

It isn’t the first high-profile position Bajac has held in the city, having previously been associate curator in the photography department at the Musée d’Orsay. He was also curator at the Musée national d’art moderne-cabinet de la photographie at the Centre Pompidou, becoming its chief curator in 2007.

1. Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Art, after 15 June 2018 fire. Photo: Police Scotland via @polscotair
2. Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building, West gable on to Scott Street, taken on 14 August 2018. Photo: courtesy Glasgow School of Art

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