This follows on from the last post, but this time a refurbishment for the royals, not plebs like us who frequent the museums.
Westminster Abbey, scene of many regal marriages, is to undergo a huge makeover for the future king of England, William and his bride-to-be Catherine. The interesting thing about this is that the money, in the form of a £1 million grant, is coming from an American bank.
As the Telegraph puts it:
"It is the first grant of its kind by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which has established an inaugural art conservation programme to provide funding for the restoration of important works of art around the world. Other recipients of this year's award include the Louvre Museum in Paris and the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. A spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch said that the bank would not seek "sponsorship" signs within the Abbey, but that "where appropriate, there may be some discreet allusions to the conservation programme related to certain works of art that have benefited, but this will be entirely at the discretion of the Abbey".
Full article, here.
Though some might argue that it's good that money on this scale should be used to bolster cultural institutions, I'm pretty wary of the almighty dollar sluicing through our cultural landscape. Perhaps Westminster Abbey shored up by American capital will come to symbolize our declining heritage propped up by neo-liberalism, itself sliding inexorably into the abyss with every passing day. I'm not surprised that the Louvre has been the recipient of Merrill Lynch's munificence though- they sold out their soul to global capitalism recently with the introduction of Starbucks, McDonalds and other little shops of horrors.
As to the specific British grand projet, unlike the glacially paced Tate Britain makeover- a public museum- the Westminster restoration caper is going ahead at breakneck speed to accommodate a royal wedding which will be a strictly private affair. Hmmmm.
But I've got a better idea. Why don't we have the royal wedding in Tate Britain, then we can get all the British paintings out of storage and use them to imbue the proceedings with a flavour of Merrie England. I don't know what art history the Prince studied at St Andrews, but I can't see him as a devotee of conceptual art. Still, he has compared himself to Banksy.
A right royal wedding at Tate Britain, then the museum would have to get the refurbishment done quickly!