Agnès Saal, the former managing director of the Centre Pompidou and the former director of France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA, National Audiovisual Insitute), will plead guilty to charges of misuse of public funds during her time at the two institutions, the AFP reports.
Saal became a symbol for high-level civil servants abusing the system after Le Figaro reported, in April 2015, that she had spent €40,000 on taxis in a period of ten months (including €6,700 spent by her son) when she was the director of the INA. She stepped down from that position in April 2015 at the request of the minister of culture, and last January, president François Hollande banned her from civil service for six months without pay, followed by an 18-month suspension.
In pleading guilty, Saal will avoid a public trial, although the state prosecutor’s sentence must be approved by the courts during a public audience. Two hearings to confirm sentencing will be held on 11 April at the high court of Créteil, a Paris suburb, over the €40,000 Saal spent as the director of the INA, and on 15 April in Paris over €38,000 in taxi bills from January 2013 to April 2014, when Saal was at the Centre Pompidou.
Jérôme Karsenti, the lawyer representing Anticor—the anti-corruption group whose legal complaint against Saal preceded the investigations into her spending—expressed his disappointment to the AFP, saying: “This affair merited a true public audience on the use of public funds by certain high-level state employees.”
The dancers, who spend two years with Ailey II before joining the main company, performed new works at the Ailey Citigroup Theater.
Noir pays tribute to noir, with respect, in this film by Dennis Hauck, starring John Hawkes as a private investigator determined to avenge a murder.
The Shanghai Museum is due to begin an extensive renovation and expansion at its 32,900 sq. m People’s Square location later this year. The first phase, which involves the repair of facilities, is not expected to have an impact on daily operations. After the completion of the museum’s eastern branch in the Pudong New Area—now under construction and due to open by 2020—the main branch will close for a more thorough renovation. The eastern satellite, to be located on the west side of the Pudong Science & Technology Museum, will be more than twice the size of the original and will showcase ancient Chinese paintings and artefacts.
New York’s Asia Week (10-19 March) was unfortunately dominated by a string of antiquities seizures, some linked to the dealer Subhash Kapoor. Kapoor is on trial in India for smuggling thousands of antiquities out of that country, a charge he denies. A Gandharan Bodhisattva head and two Indian sandstone sculptures were confiscated by US federal agents ahead of auction, while an Afghan sculpture was seized from a New York gallery. According to a statement released by investigators: “With Asia Week in New York… [customs officials] have been on the lookout for shipments coming in from shippers and sources that might be trying to exploit our border controls.”
The flooring of this May’s edition of Frieze New York will be covered entirely by grey carpet. However, the move has left some smaller galleries unhappy because removing it from their booths and replacing it with another material (that might better show off a floor work, for example)could reportedly cost between $3,000 and $15,000, according to some dealers. Dimitri Parisis, the owner of Dimitri Carpet in Hoboken, New Jersey (one of Frieze’s recommended booth contractors), says the upper lim it is probably more like $9,000, depending on booth size and materials. Frieze did not respond to a request for comment.
The ADA Project
until 6 April
The Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Kowloon
The British artist Conrad Shawcross has brought his dancing robot to the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel. The ADA Project, which incorporates an industrial-strength robotic arm, will be “conducting” music by Mira Calix this week. Performances are due to take place at 3pm and 5pm on 23 March and during the evening of 24 March. At other times, the work will function in “salon mode”. Shawcross, who is in Hong Kong this week, says he is looking forward to people’s reactions when “they will be expecting to sit down for a cup of English tea”. Inspired by the pioneering 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace, who was the daughter of Lord Byron, The ADA Project’s Hong Kong debut is the second in a three-year partnership between London’s Royal Academy of Arts and the Peninsula. Last year’s surprise for the hotel’s guests was a vintage coach that balanced on the seventh floor of the façade, installed by Shawcross’s fellow Academician Richard Wilson. More Shawcross’s work can be seen this week at Art Basel in Hong Kong (Victoria Miro, 3D04).
The release of the annual Forbes rich list in March revealed that the fortunes of some of the top 20 billionaires familiar to the art world have taken a hit. Bill Gates (in the number one spot) saw his net worth drop to $75bn from $79.2bn in…