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April 09, 2012

In the Arts: Chicago Museum and New York Stage Receive $10-Million Gifts

Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art will name its theater for longtime benefactors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson in honor of a $10-million gift aimed at providing long-term support for the museum's exhibitions, performances, and education programs, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The couple, modern-art collectors who have given the museum or helped it acquire works by Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, and Jenny Holzer, are also both involved in the institutions operations, Mr. Edlis as a trustee since 1981 and Ms. Neeson as a member of the exhibitions committee.

In other arts news:

• The Irene Diamond Fund has donated $10-million to New York's Signature Theatre to help it repay loans and construction costs associated with its newly opened Times Square home, writes Bloomberg.

Signature will name the largest of the new complex's three theaters for Ms. Diamond, the late widow of New York property developer Aaron Diamond. Artistic director James Houghton said the organization is seeking another $10-million to complete a capital campaign to retire its mortgage and build cash reserves.

• American museum and gallery officials are hoping a bill before Congress will open up the blocked pipeline of Russian art and artifact loans, the Los Angeles Times writes.

Moscow suspended art loans to U.S. institutions after a federal court ruled in 2010 that a collection of historic Jewish writings held by Russia should be returned to a U.S.-based Hasidic group, Chabad. Russia feared works in America would be seized by the Jewish organization as collateral or compensation.

The bipartisan bill, passed without opposition by the House and now pending in a Senate committee, would close a loophole in a federal court ruling that is unrelated to the Chabad case but that protects artworks from seizure that are on loan for exhibits and are approved by the executive branch.