International News Digest

JULY 25

News that the Prado Museum in Madrid has lost track of 885 works of art has many up in arms. El País’s José Marcos Garcia reported that the museum’s inventory registers a total of 27,509 objects, but that the location of nearly nine hundred remains unaccounted for. Spain’s audit court is apparently unconvinced by the museum’s argument that most of the missing artworks have been lost over time in fires and wars. (“Suspecting this is not enough; if there is no factual evidence that they were destroyed, we cannot take them off the inventory,” explained a museum spokesperson.) Citing the complications arising from the Prado’s massive number of artworks disseminated around various other cultural centers, the audit court has encouraged the museum to develop a three-year plan to follow up on all works on loan, photograph its current holdings, and make new records with the help of a computer application.

Speaking to NWZ, Okwui Enwezor said he saw no crisis at the Munich Haus der Kunst, even though the exhibition space has seen the withdrawal of its main sponsor, the Schörghuber group. He also said that thinking in terms of blockbuster shows was not sustainable for him, in response to accusations that his shows were not popular enough to the general public—accusations which he sees “as an attack on our audience and the Munich public that is interested in contemporary art.”

Despite a government that’s halved its cultural ministry’s budget, Greece’s arts have been soldiering on with the help of private patrons and culture workers, wrote reporter Markus Bernath in Der Standard. Bernath cited the example of Iliana Fokianaki, a cultural journalist who last year opened State of Concept, the first nonprofit art gallery in Greece. Meanwhile Iasson Tsakonas, a private collector, continued to support his ReMap project, started in 2007, which offers spaces for contemporary art in underprivileged neighborhoods. Outside of Nafplio, the artist and collector Florica Kyriakopoulos founded a combination of studio, sales, and exhibition spaces for contemporary art and craft. The shipowner George Economou opened a museum for his art collection in the district of Athens Marousi. In contrast, thanks to the collapse of government arts funding, the lavish glass-and-concrete National Museum of Modern Art—just a few minutes’ walk from Fokianaki’s gallery—is closed.

An installation by Christoph Büchel has been removed from Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art. Australia’s ABC reports that the work included a sign that read “Are you of Aboriginal descent?” and offered visitors DNA testing that would determine their ancestry. The museum said it removed the installation after discussion with Aboriginal elders. Representatives at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center were disappointed that they had not been consulted before the work was displayed. It’s not the first time a work by Büchel has not been shown as planned at a museum—in 2007, a work by Büchel at Mass MoCA was canceled, over differences between the museum and the artist that ultimately lead to a lawsuit over whether the work could be shown unfinished.