Art news – weekly round-up

  • 20 December 2013

Museum of the Year applications open, Stonehenge reveals a cutting-edge visitor centre and the Ashmolean acquires Chinese masterpieces – we round up the top stories of the week.

The ancient site of Stonehenge, which has opened its new visitor centre Press Association

The ancient site of Stonehenge, which has opened its new visitor centre

Museum of the Year

The Art Fund is now accepting applications for Museum of the Year 2014. The prize identifies the finest museums in the UK and awards £100,000 – the biggest award of its kind in the world – to the very best. As reported in the Guardian the judging panel will include Wim Pijbes, the director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, offering a new international dimension for the first time.

Stonehenge brought to life

The new £27m Stonehenge visitor centre finally opened this week, a mile and a half from the ancient site. As reported in the Telegraph the 5,000-year-old monument has been brought to life with new exhibitions featuring state of the art technology, including a 360-degree cinema and an advanced forensic reconstruction of a Neolithic man’s face. However there has been some controversy over displays featuring human remains, resulting in a protest led by druid Arthur Uther Pendragon at the unveiling on Wednesday.

Chinese treasures

The Ashmolean in Oxford has been bequeathed an astounding collection of modern Chinese art by Professor Michael Sullivan, an expert in the field who died in September. According to the Guardian’s Mark Brown the 400 works have been valued at more than £15m and feature pieces by Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian and Xu Bing.

Serpentine salary hike causes a stir

The Serpentine Gallery has been scrutinised for awarding salary rises of at least 45% to its gallery co-directors in the last year. According to the Independent figures released by David Lee (founder of satirical magazine The Jackdaw) place Julia Peyton-Jones’ pay at over £140,000, exceeding that of the National Gallery's director Nicholas Penny.

And finally...

A new museum is to open in an old public convenience in Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire Echo reports. The Sleaford Museum Trust is planning to use a £94,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to convert the Monument Gardens toilet block into a museum of local history, featuring fossils and bones from the local area.