International News Digest

AUGUST 6

Hamburg’s Kunsthalle has reason to celebrate: The museum just received a donation of nearly twenty million dollars from entrepreneur Alexander Otto, according to DPA. Calling the gift a “historic moment,” the kunsthalle’s director, Hubertus Gaßner, said that the money would be used to unite the institution’s three buildings into one whole. Construction will begin next year and end by 2015. Gaßner said that he hoped that the new planned building—with its renovated entrance hall and a central auditorium for lectures—would help the Hamburger Kunsthalle become one of Germany’s top five museums.

If the Kunsthalle in Osnabrück hasn’t quite hit the financial jackpot, it does have some fresh intellectual capital. Curator Julia Draganovic spoke with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on her new role, starting September 1, as the institution’s director. She spoke about her aim of making the Kunsthalle “more visible,” in part by raising its profile on the Internet. And while Draganovic is working with the challenges of a limited budget (just over $100,000) and outdated space (no air conditioning in the building) she outlined a plan to attract new partners and sponsors for her exhibition program. Contemporary art is “not just for experts and rich people,” emphasized Draganovic. “Art reaches all of us.”

Halfway around the world, the Inhotim Institute has also named a new executive director: Antonio Grassi. ArtNexus reports that Grassi will leave his current post as president of Funarte, a department of Brazil’s ministry of culture, to take up his new job. “I was called to bring new ideas for programming and special projects at Inhotim,” he told O’Globo Cultura. Apparently his role will come with its share of commercial concerns, so to speak, now that Inhotim plans to open a hotel on site. “With the opening of [the] hotel,” he said, “we will have an intense nighttime program. I want to bring dance, drama, music, as well as audiovisual projects.” Grassi has been responsible for coordinating the Year of Brazil in Portugal, Brazil’s participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, and the renovation of Săo Paulo’s Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia, among other projects.

The two members of Pussy Riot who were sentenced have both been denied parole, according to the blog of Baibakov Art Projects. Maria Alyokina reportedly didn’t meet parole requirements because she had failed to make her bed properly and refused to wear a head scarf at work, among other violations, while Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been denied parole on even more dubious grounds: She refused to participate in the Miss Charm pageant. “The time I served in prison has done nothing for my correction, therefore I see no sense in keeping me behind bars,” she said at her hearing. In addition, according to Monopol, Alyokina has allegedly quarreled so disruptively with guards and inmates that she has been transferred to a new detention center. The twenty-five-year-old activist was most recently involved in an in-prison protest against the detention conditions, after having staged an eleven-day hunger strike when she was banned from appearing in court.