International News Digest


Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Lynne Yelich, has hailed the release of filmmaker John Greyson from an Egyptian prison with a statement released on a government website Saturday night, according to Radio-Canada. “Canada applauds the decision to free Tarek Loubani and John Greyson,” wrote the minister. “I rejoice at the prospect of seeing Loubani and Greyson reuniting with their families and friends, who have all shown much courage throughout this ordeal.”

Yelich also expressed “gratitude” to Egyptian authorities and commended them for allowing “regular consular access” to both Canadians while they were detained. As reported earlier this month, Greyson and Loubani were detained by Egyptian police, who accused them of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their reports on the conditions of their detention can be found here.

When news broke last year that Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie intended to remove its collection of works by old masters to make way for twentieth-century art, the decision provoked public outcry; ultimately, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation changed course, announcing plans instead to house the newer artworks in an edifice that would be added to the group of buildings making up the Kulturforum. Now, Hermann Parzinger, the foundation’s head, has penned a column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung laying out some of his thoughts on the new building, which he says is necessary due to both urban-planning and financial considerations.

In his article, Parzinger expresses discomfort with the current plans, noting that “Museum Island is unfinished as a place of artistic and cultural development” and that the original plan to move the Gemäldegalerie’s collection to Museum Island would have brought it into close proximity with other significant collections, uniting painting and sculpture. Yet, given the necessity for a new building, Parzinger insists that the museum’s location be thoroughly considered, noting that “every new construction project at the Kulturforum will be inevitably and fatefully linked to its [possible role as a] solution to the site’s urban problems.” Calling the Kulturforum an area full of “unfinished visions, rejected plans, and failed solutions,” Parzinger says that a well-planned new museum could bring hope to the site, acting as a corrective to “previous planning errors.” He argues for the new building to be constructed on Sigismund Street, due to its proximity to the Mies Van Der Rohe–designed Neue Nationalgalerie.

Will balloon dogs be next for Moscow’s Jewish Museum? According to the Art Newspaper’s Sophia Kishkovsky, the museum—which occupies the space that formerly housed Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture—has decided to include contemporary art in its programming, as part of “a bid to broaden its audience.” Alexander Boroda, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (which oversees the Jewish Museum) hopes that contemporary art will draw in younger viewers in particular.

While he did not disclose details about future shows, Boroda did note that its contemporary exhibitions would not be limited to Jewish themes, but would have a philosophical bent. “We see that [contemporary art] is very much in demand, and we also want to be in demand in those spheres that are interesting to contemporary people,” he said, but distanced the museum’s new focus from Zhukova’s project, adding, “The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture has moved, and their entire ideology has moved as well.” The museum’s first contemporary-art show, “Foreigners Everywhere,” includes works by Marina Abramović and Ulay, Joseph Beuys, and Taryn Simon. The exhibition is open until November 4.