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Daily digest: Tate Liverpool launches an international design competition, more museum closures, and more

The Tate Liverpool is searching for an architect to shepherd their newest renovations, Louvre attendance drops to pre-pyramid levels, and more

The National Air and Space Museum is just one of the Smithsonian museums facing COVID-related closures. (Tim Evanson/Flickr, accessed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
The National Air and Space Museum is just one of the Smithsonian museums facing COVID-related closures. (Tim Evanson/Flickr, accessed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Good afternoon and welcome to another Friday roundup as we head into the first real weekend of 2022.

Here’s what you need to know:

Tate Liverpool is searching for an architect to spearhead a massive overhaul

Tate Liverpool, originally opened in 1988 as northwestern England’s offshoot of the venerable Tate Britain museum in London, is searching for an architecture firm to head its next major renovation. The James Stirling-designed, Grade I-listed building on Liverpool’s Albert Dock has underwent several major updates already, including the addition of new public facilities to the unused top floor, a foyer overhaul in 2007, and a cafe refresh.

Now, the museum is putting $34 million (£25 million) towards modernizing the building’s galleries and interested firms have until February 4 to enter the design competition. The full brief is available here, and Tate expects to announce a shortlist on March 18.

H/t to Building Design

More U.S. museums shutter over COVID-induced staffing shortages

Well, with new infections of COVID-19 topping 750,000 daily at the time of writing (after briefly reaching 1 million), it was inevitable that even more museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions would be forced to close; if not to curb the spread of disease, then owing to staffing shortages as employees fall ill.

As Artnet News points out, even institutions that had taken preemptive measures and shuttered over the long New Year weekend, such as five Smithsonian museums, are being forced to extend their closures over staffing shortages. All Washington, D.C., museums are closed today due to a snowstorm that buffeted the East Coast earlier this morning, but the Anacostia Community Museum won’t reopen until January 18; the National Air and Space Museum won’t reopen until January 20, and the National Museum of African Art won’t reopen until tomorrow, January 8. After January 18, five of the D.C. museum in the Smithsonian’s network will also move to a reduced Wednesday-to-Sunday schedule.

Larger museums in New York such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art are remaining open but cutting dining services and slashing attendance maximums to help keep visitors safe. Meanwhile, the New York Public Library (NYPL) has closed its Treasures exhibition at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building through January 18—the show puts the most vaunted pieces from the library’s 125-year-old research collections on display.

The Queens Public Library system has been affected as well. Apart from the closure of the Flushing Branch, the busiest library in the United States, in May of 2021 after the HVAC system failed, eight of the 61 libraries across the borough were forced to close indefinitely shortly after Christmas due to staffers testing positive for COVID.

H/t to Artnet News

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