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Spain’s Museo del Prado has lost 885 artworks, according to El Pais. The newspaper, citing a report by Spain’s Audit Court, claims that the Madrid-based institution was missing 926 works at one point, 41 having been found between 2008 and 2012. Those works had been misplaced during a restructuring period of the country’s national collections held at the Prado and the Reina Sofia museum of contemporary art.

In their report, the court cites, “Lack of sufficient human resources,” as the culprit behind the missing artworks. They have demanded an internal review and continued searches within the museum’s collections and its lending history to identify the whereabouts of the missing art.

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The National Galleries of Scotland announced today, 1 May 2014, that Gareth Hoskins Architects has been appointed to oversee a major transformational project at the Scottish National Gallery over the next 4 years.

Galleries devoted to the national collection of historic Scottish art will be radically overhauled and significantly expanded whilst greatly improving visitor circulation and facilities at the Scottish National Gallery. The iconic building situated at The Mound in the centre of Edinburgh currently welcomes over a million visitors each year. The development aims to almost double the display space for Scottish art within the Scottish National Gallery designed by William Henry Playfair (1790-1857) and which opened in 1859.

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Officials at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam announced that the museum will reopen to the public on April 14, 2013. The Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national institution devoted to arts, crafts, and history, has been closed for 10 years as part of a massive renovation and modernization project.

The museum is currently working to reinstall around 8,000 masterpieces from the national collection spanning from the Middle Ages to present day. While the Rijksmuseum’s main building was closed, the institution sent a selection of 400 works, including their most famous painting, Rembrandt’s (1606-1669) The Night Watch (1642), to the Philips Wing, a previously renovated “fragment building” belonging to the museum. The works formed a major exhibition titled Masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age, which saw approximately 1 million visitors during its run.

The Rijksmuseum renovation cost approximately $481 million to complete and included restoring all eighty of the museum’s galleries with their original decorations and paintings as well as implementing the most up-to-date technologies and applications. The project was expected to reach completion in 2008, but a series of contractor issues and planning problems delayed progress.  

Museum officials expect attendance to increase significantly after the institution reopens; prior to the Rijksmuseum’s closure, it saw approximately 1 million visitors each year. The museum is also planning to stay open 365 days a year, which would make it the first national museum in the world to be open every day.

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“Can you paint a picture of the next five minutes of this, does it just go on and on?” asks Frances Morris, Tate curator, watching a film – a potential Tate purchase – at Frieze Art Fair. “Does the projector come with it? No? Oh that doubles the price.” Other comments flood in, then the wave of smart jackets, clicking heels, confiding voices, sweeps on to the next hopeful booth. “I find it really amusing, it makes me smile” (Candida Gertler, director, Outset Contemporary Art Fund). “We could show this in so many different contexts” (Ann Gallagher, curator, Tate). “Political, yes, but in a veiled way” (Adam Szymczyk, director, Basel Kunsthalle). “I’m just being a bit scathing . . . Enough!” (Nicholas Serota, director, Tate).

Every year, Tate goes shopping at Frieze. This week I trailed behind, eavesdropping, trying to grasp how our national collection is formed, what such acquisitions reveal about trends in taste and scholarship.

Tate’s budget, provided by the philanthropic Outset, is modest – £120,000. Millions of pounds worth of art is on sale in Regent’s Park. A committee – Serota, three Tate curators, two guests, this year Szymczyk and Bogotá-based curator José Roca – has a few hours before the fair opens to look, argue, negotiate prices, pare down a shortlist, buy. They must move fast but not impulsively – “we wouldn’t spend on an artist we knew nothing about, you can’t buy on spec,” says Morris. So they target – artists on their wish-list, geographic locations. The presence of Polish-born Szymczyk and Roca reflects Tate’s current preferred collecting areas – eastern Europe, Latin America.

“Our first priority is to acquire three major works by three women artists,” Serota announces. Outset can hardly believe its luck with Alina Szapocznikow’s “Tumour”, a wall-based polyester sculpture in toxic yellow, made in 1969 shortly before Szapocznikow died of cancer, and incorporating a crushed photographic self-portrait. Indisputably important, hauntingly caught between surrealism and pop, “Tumour” resonates

Szapocznikow, born in Poland in 1926 and a Bergen-Belsen survivor, was unknown half a decade ago; then her work was swept into the rising post-feminist market, and a transatlantic retrospective is now touring. “Almost every year we try to acquire a work and a private collector gets in first because they are so in demand and so rare,” says Serota. “But ‘Tumour’ is more raw and more affecting than ones we looked at before.” For Morris, the purchase – sweetened by a discount from the gallery, New York’s Broadway 1602 – is “a triumph”. Gertler names the piece her favourite in Frieze.

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