Stagecoach’s sponsorship of Turner Prize ends after one day due to boss’s LGBT views The bus and train company’s founder and chair, Sir Brian Souter, who is one of Scotland’s richest men, has previously funded a campaign to retain the anti-gay law section 28. He has also warned that society may implode if ‘traditional’ marriage fails.

The Guardian reports that a letter was being prepared by artists, to be signed by former Turner Prize winners, objecting to Stagecoach South East’s sponsorship of this year’s Turner Prize exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate.

However, Tate, Turner Contemporary and Stagecoach South East have announced that, ‘by mutual agreement’, the sponsorship has ended.

A joint statement from Tate and Turner Contemporary said: “Turner Contemporary and Tate’s highest priority is to show and celebrate artists and their work. The Turner Prize celebrates the creative freedoms of the visual arts community and our wider society. By mutual agreement, we will not proceed with Stagecoach South East’s sponsorship of this year’s prize.”

Stagecoach stated: “Stagecoach South East has mutually agreed with Turner Contemporary and Tate not to continue with the company’s sponsorship of the 2019 Turner prize. We are absolutely committed to diversity in our company, however we do not want anything to distract from celebrating the Turner prize artists and their work.”

The shortlist for the 2019 Turner Prize is Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani. The Turner Prize exhibition will open in Margate in September. The £25,000 winner will be announced on 3 December.

Nigel Prince appointed director and chief curator of Artes Mundi The current executive director of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, will take up his new role with the Cardiff-based contemporary art organisation – known for its biennial exhibition and art prize – in September.

Prince previously worked as a curator at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham from 2004 to 2010, and also co-founded the city’s International Project Space.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Artes Mundi. As an organisation which combines a major UK biennial exhibition and art prize with a year-round program of public and community outreach, commissions and partnership exhibitions, the importance of its role in creating space for people to engage with the vital issues of our time is necessary now more than ever.”

Artes Mundi’s previous director and curator Karen MacKinnon, who had been with the organisation since 2013, has become the new curator of Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector sculpture fails to deploy due to ‘government shutdown’ The American artist has spent the last decade developing the 100-foot-long diamond-shaped Mylar balloon at a cost of around $1.5m dollars in funding. Coated with titanium oxide, it was meant to be visible to the naked eye at key times while in orbit and explore themes relating to the ownership of outer space.

Although the balloon was embedded in a small satellite that did launch into orbit in December, the work never inflated, with Paglen claiming that the recent US government shutdown under the Trump administration delayed the required FCC clearance for its release.

He commented: “In order to deploy the balloon, you have to coordinate with the FCC, the military and NASA, but the FCC and the part of the military we need to deal with were both shut down so there was literally nobody we could call to get the approval for deployment.”

Paglan added that the satellite was not built to withstand such a long time in the heat of the sun. “We can get tracking data from the Air Force, so we know the satellite’s still out there. But we lost the ability to tell the sculpture to deploy.”

Although there is still theoretically a chance that an accidental deployment could occur it seems unlikely and the artwork is now being officially classed as unrealised.

Photo London cancels partnership with Brunei’s Dorchester Collection after protests The group of luxury hotels are owned by the Sultan of the Southeast Asian kingdom, which recently made headlines after enacting laws that ban gay or extramarital sex, to be punishable by death by stoning.

Various events and talks were due to be held at the hotel during the fair, which runs from 16-19 May, whilst patrons of Photo London were due to stay at the hotel. However, following criticism, the fair has announced it is “currently undertaking urgent steps to exit from this contract”.

Tim Clark, the editor of the 1000 Words photography magazine and photography curator, headed up the campaign against Photo London’s partnership. He told the Art Newspaper: “The fact that Photo London seemingly had no qualms about using, as its hotel partner, the so-called Dorchester Collection, owned by the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, is deeply concerning. It not only implicates Photo London but also, by natural extension, our sector in a system of horrific violence and oppression.”

Clark had gained support from various high-profile photographers, including Ed Sykes and Niall McDiarmid, the American curator Peggy Sue Amison and the London-based artist Karen Knorr, who will be exhibiting at the fair.

Photo London said: “Photo London signed a hotel partnership with the Dorchester Collection many months ago. At that time, like most people, we were unaware of the Sultan of Brunei’s proposed legislation in relation to adultery and gay people. We abhor these proposals and are currently undertaking urgent steps to exit from this contract. We have cancelled all proposed events at the hotel and are currently rehousing our exhibitors.”

1. Turner Contemporary, Margate
2. A rendering of Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector project Nevada Museum of Art; A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Dec, 3. Credit: SpaceX

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