Tristram Hunt inherits a V&A in pretty good shape

Image copyright PA

From what I saw of the V&A as a member of the Art Fund's judging panel for its Museum of the Year accolade last summer, Tristram Hunt is inheriting an organisation in pretty good shape.

After a bit of argy bargy over hot croissants and cold coffee, we judges decided to give the prestigious award to the South Kensington institution because it was unquestionably a centre of excellence serving an appreciative public to a high degree.

Added to which, its ability to attract a truly diverse audience was a lot better than most museums.

Tristram Hunt's two immediate predecessors - although quite unlike one another - succeeded in turning the V&A into a vibrant, contemporary, intelligent institution that had the self confidence to overcome the public embarrassments of a notoriously awful Saatchi & Saatchi advertising campaign ("An ace caff, with quite a nice museum attached") and rejection of a showy Daniel Libeskind extension.

The museum that Mr Hunt joins is ambitious, alive and expanding. The new V&A Dundee is due to open next year, plus there are major projects planned from the East End to the Far East.

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Maria Balshaw is NOT the new director of Tate… yet

Image copyright Whitworth Gallery

Is Maria Balshaw the new director of the Tate? No.

Will she be? Probably.

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Arts news in 2016: Knocking on death's door

Will Gompertz with Huw Edwards on the BBC One Ten O'Clock News on the night of David Bowie's death
Image caption Will Gompertz appeared with Huw Edwards on the BBC One Ten O'Clock News on the night of David Bowie's death

Each specialism within journalism has its area of breaking news.

For foreign correspondents, it tends to be a conflict or catastrophe. Politicos deal in shock resignations or revelations. For us in the arts unit, it is award ceremonies - and celebrity deaths.

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Art in 2017: A look ahead

Artist's impression of Stage @The Dock Image copyright Wykeland
Image caption Hull's new The Stage @The Dock has a decked performance space and terraced seating

2017 is going to be a Hull of a year. Really. Humble old Hull - a city once voted among the worst to live in Britain - has had a multi-million pound facelift, cleaned up its act, and is playing open house to the world as UK City of Culture 2017.

Do go. It's a fabulous place. And not a bit like some other cities one could mention, where a stranger saying "hello" either means you've been set-upon by a chugger or a performance artist. They're a friendly lot over on the blowy east coast of Yorkshire, and have put together a decent and diverse 12-month programme.

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Inside Dame Zaha Hadid's 'womb-like' Science Museum gallery

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum Image copyright Jody Kingzett
Image caption A 1929 Handley Page bi-plane hangs in the gallery's entrance

The Science Museum in London has unveiled its new mathematics gallery, which was designed by the late architect Dame Zaha Hadid - the first of her projects to open in the UK since her death in March 2016.

Dame Zaha Hadid was a mathematics graduate and a master of the unexpected.

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The poetic puzzles of Helen Marten

Helen Marten's work Image copyright AP
Image caption Helen Marten wants to "throw you off balance"

For someone who would prefer her work to do the talking Helen Marten is spending a lot of time in the limelight.

Last month she made national news as the winner of the inaugural Hepworth Prize for sculpture, to which she has now added one of the world's highest-profile art accolades, the Turner Prize.

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Geneva Free Port: The greatest art collection no-one can see

Media captionAround a million works of art are stored at the Geneva Free Port complex

As size is an important part of this story, let me start by giving you some context.

The National Gallery in London has around 2,300 paintings in its collection - which might sound a lot, but is a piffling hoard compared to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which has gathered almost 200,000 artworks of varying types and quality.

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The Grand Tour review: Clarkson returns in 'filmic' show

The Grand Tour Image copyright Amazon Prime Video
Image caption The Grand Tour launched on Amazon Prime on Thursday evening

Filmic is the word that sprang to my mind when watching the Grand Tour.

The scale of the production, the quality of the cameras, the epic sweeping shots and the pastiches of old movies - it seemed the show was aimed at the big screen, not the telly. Or a mobile phone, which is how I imagine a lot of people will view it.

Read full article The Grand Tour review: Clarkson returns in 'filmic' show

The most sophisticated hucksters on earth

Woman looks at Man Ray's photographs Noire et Blanche at The Radical Eye exhibition Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Modernist photographs from Sir Elton John's private collection are on show at Tate Modern

Last week I was momentarily interested in buying a Volkswagen car. It was an embryonic impulse terminated before it germinated by an unpleasant young man in an Oxfordshire dealership with sulphuric breath and a hard-sales technique that would have made Del Boy wince.

A six-month placement in the art world would sort him out. There he'd learn how to sell from the most sophisticated hucksters on earth.

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What does David Bowie's art say about him?

Media captionDavid Bowie's art on show ahead of Sotheby's auction

First things first: The Sotheby's sale of David Bowie's art collection is only partial, in that it's not all there.

His family has kept a large chunk back - maybe around a third - including a Lynn Chadwick sculpture called Teddy Boy and Girl.

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