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The Headlines

MORE MONEY, MORE PROBLEMS. The oil and gas giant BP has agreed to a £50 million ($63.3 million) sponsorship deal with the British Museum, drawing a great deal of criticism from climate activists, the Financial Times reports. “No cultural establishment that has a responsibility to educate and inform should be allowing fossil fuel companies to pay them to clean their image,” Greenpeace UK staffer Doug Parr told the paper. The funds will go toward a £1 billion ($1.27 billion) renovation of the gallery over the next 10 years. In the Art NewspaperMartin Bailey reports on newly released minutes from meetings that the British Museum’s board held at which they discussed the potential funding. Some trustees stated objections, but the board “unanimously agreed that accepting the sponsorship was on balance in the best interests of the museum,” per the minutes.

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THE TOP JOBS. The treasure-filled Uffizi in Florence will soon have a new director, art historian Simone Verde, the New York Times reports. Eike Schmidt’s term is expiring, and he has been tapped by the Italian government to run the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, though he has teased a possible run for mayor of Florence. The new hire, which was announced along with eight more selections for museums in Italy, comes as Italy’s right-wing government aims to put Italians in charge of its national museums. An earlier Italian government had opened the posts to foreigners like Schmidt, who recently received Italian citizenship. Meanwhile, over in Jakarta, Indonesia, Museum MACAN said that its inaugural director, Aaron Seeto, will depart at the end of January, after seven years.

The Digest

Three curators have been tapped by the Armory Show to helm various projects at its 2024 edition: Lauren Cornell, chief curator of the Hessel Museum of Art and director of the graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College; the Kitchen’s chief curator, Robyn Farrell; and independent curator Eugenie Tsai. The fair will run in September at the Javits Center in Manhattan. [Artforum]

The Stockholms Auktionsverk auction house sold 122 vintage Ikea pieces on Monday night for the equivalent of about $40,700. Some early designs by the Swedish maker of affordable furniture (and delectable meatballs) have become hot items for collectors in recent years. [The Guardian]

Two teens were arrested for allegedly spray painting the walls of Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul on Saturday. Another individual surrendered to police for spraying the walls on Sunday in what may have been a copycat crime. [Yonhap News Agency]

To benefit its acquisition fund, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is selling a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington next month at Christie’s with a high estimate of $2.5 million. Penny-pinching Washington lovers may be interested in a Rembrandt Peale portrait of the first U.S. president in the same sale that has a $500,000 top mark. [Penta]

Two months after it laid off 20 staffers and cut its hours, citing a need to “realign” its budget, the Dallas Museum of Art said that it will make its ticketed shows free on the first Sunday of each month—a potential $40 saving for visitors. Funding is coming from collector Alice Walton‘s Art Bridges Foundation. [The Dallas Morning News]

The Kicker

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN. Artist Andrew Prekker is only 24 years old, but he has already made history. His proposal for a new Minnesota flag (many considered the old one offensive) was selected from more than 2,600 entries, the New York Times reports. It is a clean, handsome design, with two panels of two different blues and a white star. Some of the other ideas were . . . interesting. They included a color photograph of a dog and more than one drawing of hands coming together to form a heart. The whole contest seems to have generated a lively public debate about art and design. One perfectly nice idea involving a snowflake drew a sharp reaction from a commenter, the Times notes. “Absolutely not,” they said. “This is horrible.” You can view all the proposals here. [NYT]